Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The American Black Film Festival Announces Its 2015 Films in Competition The American Black Film Festival Announces Its 2015 Films in Competition Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' British Filmmaker Peter Greenaway Preps Feature on Alexandre Dumas British Filmmaker Peter Greenaway Preps Feature on Alexandre Dumas Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Review: Despite Bold Performance By Berry, 'Frankie and Alice' Is Uneven & A Bit Awkward (In Theaters Friday)

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act April 3, 2014 at 8:53PM

Frankie and Alice, directed by Geoffrey Sax and starring Halle Berry in the titular characters, is based on true events in the life of Francine “Frankie” Murdoch, a black woman who was severely hindered by multiple personality disorder.
25
Frankie and Alice (Still)

"Frankie and Alice," directed by Geoffrey Sax and starring Halle Berry in the titular characters, is based on true events in the life of Francine “Frankie” Murdoch, a black woman who was severely hindered by multiple personality disorder. The film takes place in the early 70’s, when Frankie (Berry) is finally diagnosed with, and begins treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder, under the care of Dr. Oswald (Stellan Skarsgard), soon after our protagonist is found half-dressed and passed out in the middle of traffic. 

The opening scene finds Frankie working as an exotic dancer. After a caged stage dancing segment - an oddly orchestrated sequence - is over, she’s in the establishment’s dressing room wondering if she indeed filled out a crossword puzzle after one of the dancers acknowledges her of doing so. But Frankie has no recollection. We begin to see her go into frequent "trances” in which she has vivid flashbacks – shown intermittently through the film – along with violent rages. 

The film follows a rather traditional and generic storyline, filled with plenty of melodrama and narrative clichés. Ultimately, we find out what events – as a young teen girl working as a maid during the Civil Rights Era - led Frankie to mental trauma and torment for most of her adult life. 

The premise of the film alone is enough to keep you engaged throughout the duration. Mental illness – especially of this type – in the black community are considered taboo. Frankie’s other personality of a racist southern woman is also a bizarre and interesting element of her illness. Some of the best scenes are between Berry and Skarsgard - the latter’s performance adds a layer of authenticity to the film, and Phylicia Rashad, who portrays Frankie’s concerned and bewildered mother (who harbors a secret), is another highlight of the film.

However, it's uneven as a whole. 

A few scenes when Frankie is transforming into her two other personalities – Alice, the racist southern white woman, and a child named Genius – are awkward to watch, because they seem forced and overacted. To Berry’s credit, playing a woman with Multiple Personality Disorder is challenging to pull off, and she does have some good moments; as the tough and streetwise Frankie, she is likable and watchable. 

The general treatment and execution of the film - its aesthetics and score – are akin to a TV movie, and "Frankie" might actually have been better suited for that platform. Perhaps it would have been more successful in reaching its intended audience (Lifetime, OWN anyone?).

Score: C+

Frankie and Alice is released by Codeblack Films.


This article is related to: Reviews, Halle Berry


Shadow & ActNewsletter