Frankie & Alice is a drama film set in the 1970’s relating the true story of a young African American woman named Frankie (played by Halle Berry) who has Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID (which used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder). Frankie works in a strip club as a go-go dancer and prides herself on her ability to step outside her body while she performs so that it’s not really her doing the stripping. This dissociation is revealed further when Frankie gets into a fight with a lover after being triggered by a doll on the floor. She seems to take on a completely different personality and ends up getting committed to a psychiatric hospital. Laying half-nude in the middle of a busy street is going to cause attention, after all. In the hospital, Frankie meets Dr. Oz, who’s convinced she’s not just another druggie on the streets having a meltdown. He ultimately diagnoses her with DID after uncovering her other two alters (names for other personalities), Genius and Alice. Genius is a super intelligent child who’s afraid of Alice, the white older woman who’s racist and despises her host Frankie. Frankie & Alice is definitely not a boring film.
I was drawn to this film because I love psychology. Dissociative Identity Disorder has long been an over-talked about topic because it’s so controversial. Anyone remember the film Sybil? I recall watching it in shock and I think that’s why it’s such an infamous disorder. The revelations fascinate people. There was shock value in Frankie & Alice, but I knew there would be and I eagerly anticipated the source of Frankie’s trauma. Not a super original concept for a film, but Halle’s acting was superb. It’s not easy to portray three vastly different people within one film and she pulled it off.
Frankie & Alice originally came out four years ago, but was only released to a wide audience recently. I thought Halle looked super young in the film and figured out why when I started researching it. Critics seem to hate the film, but I disagree with them. The film wasn’t outstanding, but I was entertained. Watching Frankie’s treatment progression, her interactions with the other patients, and her job at the strip club was fun. Frankie manages to get herself in trouble often when she transitions from one personality to the next. The viewer never can tell what will set her off.
I expect that Halle will be nominated come award season. She deserves recognition for her portrayal of Frankie. I recommend Frankie & Alice to anyone who has an interest in psychology or enjoys a comeback story.