Some people play the crazy role just a little too well in films. Michael Ealy did it in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and "For Colored Girls." Halle Berry is just as eerily realistic in "Frankie & Alice," playing the role of a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder. Although they separated and moved on years ago, when it comes to playing crazy, the former couple still lead the acting pack in the best to ever do it.
Halle Berry's character starts off as a stripper named Frankie from Watts in California. Then she moves on to Alice, a white racist woman. And every once in awhile a young girl nicknamed Genius creeps in to keep an eye on Frankie.
No one knows she suffers from multiple personality disorder, and her mother Edna (played by Phylicia Rashad) just keeps making excuses for her behavior. Maxine (played by Chandra Wilson) knows something is up with her sister, but there's so much sibling rivalry going on between the two that even she can't get to the bottom of it.
Genius' IQ impresses Dr. Oz (played by Stellan Skarsgård). When Frankie asks for help after having to choose between going to prison for assaulting a strip club customer or going to a mental institution, she chooses the latter. She begs Dr. Oz to help her. Between the two he tries to figure out what exactly happens to make Frankie switch to the other two personalities going on in her head.
At first the research psychologist is unaware of the personality flip, but a flicker in the eye and noticing that suddenly Frankie writes with her right hand but catches with her left hand make him peer at her longer.
Even before "Gothika," Halle Berry fans knew she could pull off this role. She's a method actor. She also loves to switch up her characters to show her versatility. She admitted that she stopped bathing for days to play the role of a crackhead in "Jungle Fever." She proved her street edge in "B.A.P.S." She showed her soulful side in "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" and "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge." And love it or hate it, she showed off her raunchier side in "Monster's Ball" and "Catwoman." It was no big shocker that she was determined to master a go-go dance to Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" in the 2014 film.
Halle Berry was clearly qualified for this role. But the real-life story behind the movie makes the film even more intriguing. Guessing Frankie's secret is not an easy task. When the climactic scene happens, it may still leave some viewers go from happy to resolve the mystery to learning about a new one.
"Frankie & Alice" inspires a larger discussion about interracial relationships, racism in the 1950s, parenthood, mental institutions versus prison populations, and growing up as a child genius. The film never had a dull moment and the main characters outdid themselves in their respective roles. For that reason, this film gets five stars.
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