I saw Frankie & Alice about four years ago, mostly due to the fact that I am a HUGE Halle Berry fan and feel that she makes extremely smart choices as an actress and producer. This film hit movie theaters with little to no fanfare and ran for only a week. Today, it has returned to movie houses in large part due to its star and producer…Oscar winner Halle Berry. Back in 2010, following a screening at the Cannes Film Festival, The Hollywood Reporter described “Frankie & Alice” as “a well-wrought psychological drama that delves into the dark side of one woman’s psyche”. The review also said Halle Berry was “spellbinding” as Frankie, with “rock-solid” supporting performances. Those supporting performances were delivered by Phylicia Rashad, Chandra Wilson and Stellan Skarsgard as Dr. Oz.
The story revolves with Dr. Oz and Frankie where he treats her for the multiple personality disorder. In due course of time he is able to discover the other two sub conscious personality and make Frankie realize her problem. Dr Oz treated Frankie until she was able to control her condition and he passed away in 2001. Frankie (with help from Genius) ultimately became a High School Teacher and ironically enough married a psychiatrist. Her three alters were …1) Francine L. Murdoch, Black Female Age 32, IQ 132 Right handed 2) Alice, White female Age ? IQ 102 Left handed and 3) Genius, Black Female Age 8-12, IQ 156 Right handed.
The most intriguing details for me were that (a) it is the true story of Frankie L. Murdoch (b) how one of color deals with mental illness (c) how one of her alters was a bigoted white woman. All of these situations must have been a buffet of character study for Ms. Berry to sink her teeth into, which is exactly what she does with much gusto and conviction. Considering the fact that Berry is bi-racial, it must have been particularly difficult to deal with the bigoted alter, which she handles with a realism and dignity that is hard to balance on-screen. It was also fascinating to see how in addition to one’s family and friends, how the medical community can sometimes just disregard the mentally ill without actually taking the time and patience to discover what series of events made their mind snap in the first place. Frankie and Alice opens in theaters TODAY.