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Frankie & Alice

Score: 81%
Rating: R
Publisher: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 101 Mins.
Genre: Drama
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, Spanish


  • Making Frankie & Alice with Halle Berry

Frankie & Alice is based on a true story and is a journey into the mind of Frankie Murdock, an African American go-go dancer living in Los Angeles in 1978 with three distinct personalities that control her at different times. Her two alter personalities are "Genius," a highly intelligent young girl and Alice, a Southern white racist. As you might guess, these personalities often cause Frankie difficulties she later finds difficult to understand or explain. Things come to a head when she goes home with Cliff, a DJ from the club where she dances, only to have Alice emerge as the pair start kissing, and things get a bit violent. Frankie ends up confused, a bit battered and lying in the middle of the road, and she is hospitalized. It is here that Dr. Oz (Stellan Skarsgard) first discovers her and begins to treat her.

Although a later event would cause Frankie to actually stay at the psychiatric hospital for a long stay, Dr. Oz begins to unravel the mystery in the mind of Frankie. Something devastating happened to Frankie when she was a child and her mother worked as a maid in the home of a wealthy white family. This event caused the two alters to be created, in order to protect Frankie from the past memories.

Her mother, Edna, (Phylicia Rashad) loves Frankie dearly and is proud of her success working at the "telephone company" but her sister, Maxine (Chandra Wilson), is well aware of Frankie's real career and is disgusted by her mother's doting. She takes every advantage to poke at Frankie, even mentioning that her "best friend" Paige (whose family Edna worked for when Frankie was a child) is getting married in L.A. in the near future. When Alice attends Paige's wedding, things end unpleasantly and Frankie finds herself once more in the care of Dr. Oz. As he treats her, Alice and the young girl he dubs Genius emerge before him. It is clear that Alice is battling for full control of Frankie on a permanent basis and if he doesn't get through to Frankie soon, her personality will be lost forever. Using ingenious methods, Dr. Oz is able to allow Frankie to see herself as these alters and finally break through to the repressed memories that caused them to form, in the hopes that all three personalities can learn to live together.

Halle Berry is outstanding as she effortlessly flows from Frankie's spunky and tough personality to the embittered and angry Alice. I will admit that I didn't find her performance of Genius very convincing and the tentative, child-like voice was more creepy than anything else, but she did a great job with the rest of the performance. Stellan Skarsgard is quite believable as Dr. Oz and the supporting cast also does a good job in their roles.

Frankie & Alice originally came out in 2010, but as Berry notes in the Making-of featurette, it was difficult to get the film released, yet it was a labor of love for her. Frankie & Alice is an interesting story about a mental disorder that wasn't really well known in the 70's the way it is today and Berry breathes life into the subject matter. However, while it is a good film, if you aren't interested in the topic, Frankie & Alice probably won't really draw you in.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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