Frankie and Alice
- Reviewed by: 00Dylan
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Current Rating 2/10 | 1 Votes
Frankie and Alice is based on the true story of a black stripper in the 1970s that suffered from dissociative identity disorder, otherwise known as multiple personality disorder. Halle Berry plays both title characters. Frankie is who most people, herself included, know her as. In certain stressful situations, the bitter and often violent Alice will come out, a racist white woman from the south. And then there's her other personality Genius, an extremely intelligent seven-year-old child. It's definitely an interesting story. Too bad the film is anything but.
In Frankie and Alice, Frankie doesn't want the hospital's help, but she's facing jail time if she doesn't comply. Stellan Skarsgard plays Dr. Oz, who is forced to perform the evaluation when the other doctor is unavailable. Upon examining Frankie, he finds her case intriguing and, when the charges against her are dropped and she's free to go, he chooses not to tell her so that he can examine her further. It's like watching an episode of House, but without Hugh Laurie's charm.
Though it's based on a true story, it's still a tale that's been told many times before, just with different characters. More importantly, it's been told better; much, much better. Nothing about the film is especially good. While Berry does a decent job with her trio of characters, and Stellan Skarsgard brings presence to any character, no matter how dull, neither performances stand out. The narrative itself doesn't help any, never letting us get to know Frankie and therefore never making us care. She's a patient in need. He's a doctor who wants to help, despite his superiors demands to release her. It's trite and not the least bit compelling.
There's also the family element that's so underdeveloped you have to wonder why they even broach the subject at all. Frankie's mother and sister have just a few scenes in the film. Frankie's mother is unaware of her job as a stripper, and they're both unaware of Frankie's mental issues. Later in the film, her mother learns of his stripper job, but it happens off camera, completely robbing us of what little family drama we could've had. Not that it would have been a good scene, with neither family member being fleshed out in the least, but it hammers home just how unnecessary the family was.
If Frankie and Alice's downfall could be attributed to one problem, it's that the film is treated not as a character study but as a mystery. Instead of painting an intricate portrait of this unfortunate woman with not one, not two, but three personalities, the filmmakers simply slopped down a few broad strokes of crazy and then delved into the mystery of what makes her the way she is. Trouble is, if I don't care anything about her as a character, I certainly don't give a damn about her past. Frankie and Alice took a pretty extraordinary real life story and turned it into something boring and dull.
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