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‘Frankie& Alice’ unveiling dissociation

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Frankie & Alice

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Who is Frankie is the all- pervasive question in this psychological drama. Halle Barry stars in “Frankie &Alice” based on the true story of a young woman who has Dissociative Identity Disorder, Felicia Rashad plays her mother, Edna, and Chandra Wilson, is her sister, Maxine. “Frankie &Alice” is told through flashbacks as Frankie weaves her way through her life, and the other personalities, that reside within her. Somehow, she has been able to cope up until now, yet it seems only barely.
Frankie lives just on the edge, stripping through the night, and smoking weed during the day meanwhile telling her mother and sister that she works for the phone company. However, Frankie experiences blackouts in which when she wakes up, she is unable to recall what happened, or how she got where she is. It is after one extreme episode that she winds up in the psychiatric ward. It is there that she meets Dr. Osgood who she refers to as Oz, Stellan Skarsgård. He takes an interest in her case and is willing to do anything to help.
The story of “Frankie & Alice” is not unique with regards to topic, what is noteworthy is Berry’s performance. She brings a depth and nuance to Frankie that enhances all the other performances as well. There are no surprises here; however there are racial questions which are unearthed. Does society’s view of race impact how people treat each other, including those we are closest to? Can these attitudes impact and harm relationships to the extent that psychological damage is done? And further, what does this say about how we see ourselves? These questions are especially troubling.
The underlying theme throughout this is how those with mental illness see themselves, versus how others see them. While Frankie does not remember her blackouts, she is aware of them. Those around her are aware of her issues. However, the terms they use to define her are different. She is labeled “wacko” by others while her mother says she has episodes. (To her mother, these episodes are not extraordinary). Yet, it is the stigma which most people remember, and not the human being. Barry’s Frankie strives to survive which is something that is laudable though little praised even now.

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