*The Hollywood Reporter has reviewed the Cannes Film Festival premiere of Halle Berry’s new film “Frankie & Alice,” which stars the Oscar winner as a sex-crazed stripper with multiple personalities and Phylicia Rashad as her mother.
The film’s official tag line: “A young multiracial American woman with dissociative identity disorder struggles to retain her true self and not give in to her racist alter-personality.”
The industry magazine says the film, Berry’s first project after the birth of her daughter Nahla in March 2008, was warmly received, but had yet to be picked up for distribution (at press time).
Below is a review of the film per the Hollywood Reporter’s Duane Byrge:
Berry is spellbinding as Frankie, a young L.A. exotic dancer. If stripping for a living weren’t chaotic enough, Frankie is plagued by gigantic personality swings: She switches from hard-drinking, promiscuous lady of the night to a tee totaling, racist Southern white belle, and, to boot, a genius-level kid. Not surprisingly, this lands her in a lot of trouble, personally and legally.
Crammed into a public psych ward after an “episode,” Frankie is left in the care of an emotionally drained psychiatrist (Stellan Skarsgard). The good doctor is a former LSD “researcher” who is still trying to plug into another reality. Down to basic prognosis, however, he’s essentially a mope who medicates with tuna sandwiches, jazz and liquor. Frankie gets his professional and personal juices flowing again.
In her terms, Frankie thinks she’s crazy, in the doc’s lingo, she’s a wonderful specimen — someone who reaches other realities through her own chemical dysfunction. In a sense, they are a perfect doctor-patient match. And, each could cure the other.
Although six scribes credited with the screenplay usually predicts erratic story and mood swings, “Frankie” does not suffer from multiple writer disorder. Both clinically and dramatically, it’s an engaging titillation despite a somewhat flat last half-hour.
Throughout, its exhibitionist proclivities are evened-out under director Geoffrey Sax’s astute guidance and the intelligent, nuanced performances of Berry and Skarsgard. In addition, the supporting performances are rock-solid, particularly Phylicia Rashad’s steadfast portrayal of Frankie’s supportive but enabling mother.
Scoped in a hard-noir style, with mean-streets Canada standing in for Los Angeles, “Frankie & Alice ” is a technically well-balanced entertainment.