|Still from Frankie and Alice|
Despite showing lots of promise, it doesn't appear Frankie and Alice ever got the proper push, running out of steam this Awards season. Centered around Frankie (Berry), the Story centers around an Exotic Dancer who inexplicably suffers a fit of rage one night. Arrested, she is then admitted to the Hospital by a Psychiatrist, Dr. Oz (Stellan Skarsgård), not to be confused with the one seen on Daytime Television.
In observing Frankie, Dr. Oz witnesses dramatic shifts in her personality but realizes this might be much more complex than it appears at first. These different personalities have different backgrounds and have an awareness of one another with varying levels of IQ. Oz finally diagnoses her with Dissociative Disorder, but will he manage to convince Frankie (and the fragments of her) to remain under his care before she is sabotaged by one of her more overbearing and toxic personalities? We are given pieces of the Puzzle in carefully administered doses before coming to understand how it is that Frankie has reached this point in her life.
Berry delivers a startlingly convincing portrayal of this damaged Woman and if it weren't for perhaps a bit too much Melodrama from Director Geoffrey Stax, Frankie and Alice could have escaped that Made-for-Television Movie territory. A true indication of Berry's Oscar-caliber Acting Chops come late in the Film when the missing piece of the Puzzle is revealed finally, having her transition from character to character with fluidity. Not to mention, Skarsgård's commitment to solving this bit of a mystery is a driving force which makes the Film work.
Frankie and Alice is an engaging-enough look at an unlikely pair brought together by less-than-ideal circumstances. Although it likely won't have much of a presence in theatres, it still is worth a watch for its great performances and sensitive treatment of Mental Illness than say, The United States of Tara. The Film will be released in Canada via Alliance Films on February 4, 2011. Grade: B+