Reviews - Major Releases


Film Review: Frankie & Alice

Halle Berry struts her performance stuff as a multiple-personality stripper.

April 2, 2014

-By Duane Byrge


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1397598-Frankie_and_Alice_Md.jpg
It's not often that Spike TV and The Lifetime Channel might be interested in the same production. Well, if you've got Halle Berry playing a stripper with multiple personalities, the venue possibilities are multitudinal.

With Berry cast in the role of a sex-crazed stripper, Frankie & Alice (on the shelf since 2010) should entice male viewers, but aesthetic-minded menfolk will grouse about Berry's cautious stripper costumes—it's set in the ’70s—and its surprising lack of sizzle. Overall, Frankie & Alice is a well-wrought psychological drama that delves into the dark side of one woman's psyche.

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 teetotaling, 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 Skarsgård). 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 Skarsgård.

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.

The Hollywood Reporter

Click here for cast & crew information.


Film Review: Frankie & Alice

Halle Berry struts her performance stuff as a multiple-personality stripper.

April 2, 2014

-By Duane Byrge


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1397598-Frankie_and_Alice_Md.jpg

It's not often that Spike TV and The Lifetime Channel might be interested in the same production. Well, if you've got Halle Berry playing a stripper with multiple personalities, the venue possibilities are multitudinal.

With Berry cast in the role of a sex-crazed stripper, Frankie & Alice (on the shelf since 2010) should entice male viewers, but aesthetic-minded menfolk will grouse about Berry's cautious stripper costumes—it's set in the ’70s—and its surprising lack of sizzle. Overall, Frankie & Alice is a well-wrought psychological drama that delves into the dark side of one woman's psyche.

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 teetotaling, 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 Skarsgård). 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 Skarsgård.

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.

The Hollywood Reporter

Click here for cast & crew information.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Major Releases

Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1
Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Darker, less action-packed first half of the final installment of the popular franchise moves from arenas to rubble aplenty as Jennifer Lawrence’s super-heroine is called upon to serve her beleaguered and much-destroyed nation as propaganda instrument and leader. Fans of the books and previous two films get a less flashy palette here, but the engaging characters and strong story return to stir interest for the scheduled November 2015 finale. More »

Dumb and Dumber To
Film Review: Dumb and Dumber To

Please, guys, don't do this to There's Something About Mary. More »

Beyond the Lights
Film Review: Beyond the Lights

Here we finally have the showbiz drama-romance which Glitter, Burlesque, both versions of Sparkle and countless glitzy but dreary others have tried to be. Immensely enjoyable corn done with maximum hipness, the perfect date movie and showcase for the astonishingly versatile Gugu Mbatha-Raw. More »

Rosewater
Film Review: Rosewater

TV satirist Jon Stewart takes a hairpin turn from comedy into serious territory with his filmmaking debut, a taut political drama based on the true story of Iran-imprisoned Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1
Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Darker, less action-packed first half of the final installment of the popular franchise moves from arenas to rubble aplenty as Jennifer Lawrence’s super-heroine is called upon to serve her beleaguered and much-destroyed nation as propaganda instrument and leader. Fans of the books and previous two films get a less flashy palette here, but the engaging characters and strong story return to stir interest for the scheduled November 2015 finale. More »

Foxcatcher review
Film Review: Foxcatcher

Character is destiny in this masterfully controlled true-crime sports drama that will likely catapult Steve Carell into the Oscar race. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here