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|Index||31 reviews in total|
Don't be swayed by the negative reviews. I knew nothing about this film
before I watched it. Afterward I thought it had been nominated for a
bunch of awards. I can't believe it didn't get any nominations, and
even got negative reviews from some critics. I'm not sure if this one
makes it into my top 10 for the year, but it's definitely in my top 20.
Sure, the subject matter has been covered before, but that shouldn't matter. So has divorce, bank robberies, and most recently, the death of a child. Just because a subject has been covered before in a film doesn't mean the film should be dismissed.
I thought this movie was way better than Rabbit Hole. While Rabbit Hole gets all the recognition, Frankie and Alice gets ignored. I'm not even any sort of huge Halle Berry fanatic. I just know a good movie when I see one and it makes me angry when good films are ignored.
I find it hard to believe that this film could not find a distributor and stayed in a holding cell for four years. Multiple personality films have always done well (The Three Faces of Eve, Sybil) and have garnered the lead actresses in both an academy award. Halle Berry (Frankie) was outstanding in channeling the other personalities trapped inside her head. As with all split personality films there is always some tragic event that occurs in the early years of life that fosters personalities to protect the host. This film was set in the 1970s and I have to say the wardrobe and locations were pretty accurate (from what I can remember). I even found myself singing along with some of the music. The fact that a straight-jacket and hypnosis was going to be involved was a no-brainer. The constant flashbacks also did not come as a surprise, but I think that the way that Halle managed those scenes is what made them memorable. Stellan Skarsgard (Oz) is the physician who takes a personal interest in Frankie's case and is responsible for getting to the heart of the issues. Phylicia Rashad (Edna) and Chandra Wilson (Maxine) are Frankie's mother and sister who are either in denial or assisting in a cover-up, or both. It was refreshing to see a film that wasn't tethered with CGI. It's kind of rare these days. Do I think that this film could have been shown on Lifetime ., sure, but I'm glad that it wasn't. The reason why is because anytime you can get a film on the big screen that contains a decent amount of diversity of actors (that isn't about slavery or servitude) then I'm all for it (I'll get off my soapbox now). The story held my attention and there were no areas of lag time. Of course I was trying to figure out what caused the personality split from the beginning. I have to say that this one kept me guessing until the end. I think that knowing that this is a true story adds to the appeal of the film and I was thrilled that the film explained what happened to the actual people at the end. I asked a few people after the movie, what they thought of the film and they all pretty much said the same thing; they liked the film, but it wasn't what they were expecting. I concur.
Well i had heard little and nothing about this flick and only finding out about it after i saw that Halle Berry was nominated for a golden globe and reading the review and synopsis to this hidden away little flick and found out it was a true life case of a woman with split personality disorder. Halle plays a stripper named Frankie whose little mood swings have all but frightened the crap out of her coworkers and boss. It turns out these mood swings are a lot more serious and turn out to be s.p.d. Frankie has two others sharing her tired little body, one a frightened but smart as a whip 9yr old girl who her psychiatrist Dr. Oz (Stellan Skarsgard) names genius and an racist white woman named Alice. As the movie rolls along we find out that their is a lot of history that inspired Frankie to take on these alter persona's and can be triggered by something as simple as a song on the radio. An overall good film that lot of reviewers and critics have been calling a Sybil rip off ( I don't call it that but the mental illness is the same thats for sure) Berry's nomination for the golden globe failed and wasn't won as it went to Natalie Portman's performance in Black Swan (another acting job that was well deserved of the win) however she once again pulled off a solid job along with a stellar performance in this film.
I did not realize that Frankie and Alice was a 2010 film until I looked it up at IMDb. Although, I did notice while viewing the film that Halle looked incredible and youthful as the lead character in the title role of Frankie. This is the second time that Ms. Berry has been on screen as an exotic dancer, she was less memorable in that short lived role in The Last Boyscout. Frankie Murdock (Halle Berry) comes across as someone who knows what she has to do to survive her circumstances how to pick a mark to get paid and even hands out vocational advice to coworkers. We find out however, through her erratic behavior it is revealed that she is not as well put together as she first seems. I knew from the trailer that the film dealt with multiple personality disorder or whatever is the current clinical name for split personalities, so the film The Three Faces of Eve came to mind as I attentively watched the story unfold. Through a series of flashbacks we see Frankie as a child and a young woman and eventually learn and understand the root of her mental illness as she undergoes treatment with Dr. Oz (Stellan Skarsgard). I would love to see Mr. Skarsgard step outside of his character, he has this Zoolander approach to acting, no matter what persona he is portraying it's always the same look. Ms. Berry on the other hand was on point she was emotionally engaging, showing a range that was both compelling and evoked compassion for what her character had endured. Her personality was splintered; her experiences caused her coping mechanisms into overdrive. Halle Berry proves that the title of 'Oscar winner' is well deserved. She played the role very convincingly with Oz and against the other key characters in the film her mother Edna (Phylicia Rashad) and her sister Maxine (Miranda Bailey oops, I mean Chandra Wilson). I enjoyed this story because it was interesting and not a new construct, it was nice to see the bad guy in the usual places, but to find a completely unexpected bad guy in this film was bittersweet. The first half hour or so became a bit annoying with all the jumping around, but not enough to reduce the entertainment value.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
" We have only one enduring weapon against mental illness,
understanding our childhoods and how this has impacted us" Alice Miller
The young African American female known as Frankie and Alice, experienced statutory rape by a white male, pregnancy and birth of a child taken away by her own mother because of the fear of miscegenation.
Frankie goes into a hypnotic trance to keep the abuse a secret and knows what it feels like to be in the perpetrator's shoes.
Frankie the abused becomes Alice the abuser.
Halle Berre is flawless in portraying an abuse survivor who struggled with dissociation and re enactments to master the earlier trauma of having her own child taken away by being a caged stripper. At least she will have some control this time by getting paid.
Frankie and Alice is caged by the seduction of the White American Dream and the glamour that prevents true intimacy.
"Frankie and Alice" is very much like the 1930 classic novel "Native So by Richard Wright with the leading role played by the fear of miscegenation.
This film is well cast and well written with characters that you can believe in. This is especially true for the psychiatrist who calmly stated that "awareness rather than blaming leads to wholeness and integration".
It is not the trauma that makes us sick but the inability to express the trauma.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As one who lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder, I found the film engaging, honest and true to life. I did find it interesting that Dr. Oz refers to Frankie as having Dissociative Identity Disorder--since that name for the disorder was not around in the 1970s. Halle Berry portrays someone with a mental health issue in a convincing way--and portrays the issues of living with DID very well. The movie is well written and cast. My only complaint was that there was too little time spent showing genius...who is her helping alter. I know mine was out a lot more than I was before I became aware of the alters. It took Berry years to get this project out, sadly the release even now is very limited. It would go a long way toward helping others understand this disorder.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Frankie and Alice was a film that came out in 2010 but for some reason didn't come out until a couple of years later. If ever there were a reason to give Halle Berry another academy award, it would be for this film! Frankie and Alice is gut wrenching, soulful and sometimes painful to watch. Especially when Halle's character Frankie revisits memories of her love life. Frankie's mother played by the equally great Phylicia Rashad is a maid working for a wealthy Caucasian family and Frankie begins a love affair with the son of the wealthy family that ends in tragedy when the love of Frankie's life is killed in an auto accident. Halle's performance in Frankie and Alice is nothing short of amazing. It's a great study about the human mind as well as the psyche of a person who has gone through a tremendous amount of emotional pain and trauma. I recommend this film to anyone curious about multiple personality disorder or for anyone who has personally gone through it.
Geoffrey Sax's 'Frankie and Alice' initially an to an extent follows a similar narrative structure to Nunnally Johnson's 'The Three Faces of Eve'. While the theme of dissociative identity disorder has played a key part in many movies like 'Sybil' (to name a few), I've always found it a fascinating theme. 'Frankie and Alice' isn't that different from the aforementioned films. I liked how Sax presents the 70s setting and how he captures the culture of that time period without going over the top. I also liked that this film does not merely focus on the patient but also on the therapist who's working hard to get to the root of Frankie's disorder. The best scenes are the interactions between her and Dr. Oz. Halle Berry makes a memorable comeback to films after a three year break. She is spellbinding in all three avatars and that too without having to rely on mimicry and makeup. Stellan Skarsgård is equally good in a subtle role. While 'Frankie and Alice' doesn't present anything new regarding dissociative identity disorder, it's still an interesting character study (albeit a slightly dramatized one) and makes for a good watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Serious films in which a lead actor portrays someone suffering with
mental illness walk a precarious tightrope, navigating a delicate
balance between authenticity and parody. In "Frankie and Alice," Halle
Berry gracefully succeeds in this high wire act, making not 2 but 3
transformations before your very eyes - between a fiery stripper, a
coldly calculating status climber and an innocent child. It is a
performance that deserves attention and accolades above and beyond
Berry's controversial yet ultimately inferior performance in "Monster's
Ball" for which she made history by being the first African American to
win the industry's highly coveted Best Actress Oscar.
"Frankie and Alice" opens setting the scene as 1973 with Frankie working as a "stripper" (more go-go dancer in a bird cage as she never gets naked). A botched after hours seduction with the club's DJ gives us our first hint of the madness to come. As the film proceeds, key emotional triggers spark seismic swings in Frankie's mood, hurtling her down memory lane to a series of traumas involving death, racism, young love, identity and soul-searing loss that have led her to dissociate from the pain by adopting alter personalities.
Berry's believability during these on-camera transformations is near-magical - the shifts in her face, her voice and her mannerisms all specific and unerring, and without the crutches of makeup, wardrobe or special effects. The result is riveting without being distractingly dazzling. It is a performance that pulls you in at every moment yet you never pull out of your required film world state of disbelief.
It is amusing to recall that this isn't the first time Berry has been called upon to play a character with multiple personalities. In the Hollywood howler "Catwoman," a movie roundly considered a campy cult-relegated turkey, she got a chance to practice in a vampier all-surface showcase. In the braver independent film "Frankie and Alice," Halle takes the lessons scratched out of "Catwoman" and chisels a performance of far greater subtlety, depth and compassion.
The supporting cast is excellent, particularly Stellan Skarsgard as the sympathetic "Dr. Oz" who with initial reluctance then heroic wholeheartedness helps Frankie heal and get to the bottom of her troubled mind. Phylicia Rashad is also praiseworthy as Frankie's mother "Edna" burdened with cryptic secrets and overcompensating by showering Frankie with exceeding affection - much to the distaste of her other daughter "Maxine" played equally well by Chandra Wilson.
The writing (credited to eight people) and editing are off-kilter in places, weakening the overall grade of the film. There was clearly much hand-wringing in regard to tone and length over the decade-plus it took to get it filmed then suitably distributed. However, there are enough victorious moments that snap the film back together toward a satisfying conclusion, though you wish the story stretched a bit longer into Frankie's recovery process. Evocative musical selections from Marvin Gaye, The Everly Brothers, Kool & The Gang and The Miles Davis Quintet also provide illuminating and memorable detours along Frankie's journey. Most winningly, despite the heavy subject matter, "Frankie and Alice" is a crowd-pleaser dotted with tasteful scenes of lightheartedness in the face of even some of its most delicate situations.
Now that Halle has, unfortunately, been passed over for Oscar consideration for "Frankie and Alice," impartial audiences can settle in for a superb and sensitive cinematic portrayal, judging it squarely and with even-keel for themselves.
First of all, let me assure you that I have absolutely no financial ties to this movie. That being said, let me tell you that I do now have a PSYCHOLOGICAL tie to this movie. By now, you know that this is a split- personality movie. Joanne Woodward won an Oscar for "Three Faces of Eve"; Sally Field won an Emmy for "Sybil". HALLE BERRY IS BETTER!!! Watch her performance, and, without CGI or special effects, you'll see her change from an "exotic dancer (ie: stripper)", to a racist, to a little girl. You'll be sucked in to the story. Then you'll be on the edge of your seat with tears in your eyes when, at the end, the terrible crisis from her youth is starkly revealed. And yet, the written epilogue just before the closing credits is uplifting and hopeful. If EVER there was a "must-see" movie, THIS IS IT!!
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