Frankie & Alice
By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Multiple-personality drama is gritty but well-acted.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
After a disturbing setup in which Frankie slowly learns she has a problem, the movie concerns itself with her working hard to overcome difficult problems, learning to ask for help, and trusting others.
Positive Role Models
Although Frankie begins the film working as a stripper, smoking cigarettes and pot, drinking, and using foul language, as begins to try to solve her problem, she tries to become a stronger person. Viewers see her reaching out to others, though some of her bad habits don't go away.
Violence & Scariness
Some violent scuffles and disturbing imagery. While operating under her alternate personalities, Frankie whacks a man with a bottle and slices a man's hand, drawing blood both times. She also attacks a woman and scratches her face. She must be subdued, stuffed into a straitjacket, and given injections. There's also a sequence in which a terrified Frankie gives birth and her baby is taken from her.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frankie works as a stripper, and she's shown cage dancing and removing her underwear for a customer (no sensitive body parts are shown). A man in the club wears tight pants, and the outline of his genitals can be seen through the fabric. Frankie initiates sex with a man; they kiss and get hot and heavy, but they're interrupted. In a flashback, a younger Frankie flirts and has sex with a boyfriend. Frankie's breast is on view in one scene, and she wears underwear and various other skimpy outfits throughout.
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Frequent use of strong language, including "f--k," "s--t," "humping," "son of a bitch," the "N" word, "damn it," "ass," and "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
While in the hospital, Frankie asks for Hostess Ding Dongs several times. She eventually gets a box and makes a fuss over it.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frankie smokes cigarettes throughout the movie and also smokes pot several times. She drinks booze from a bottle and champagne at a wedding. She insists several times that she never touches any other kinds of drugs. Her doctor tells a story about having taken LSD as part of a medical experiment.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this often-gritty drama is based on a true case of multiple personality disorder and doesn't shy away from violent and disturbing images (including a little blood), sex and sexual situations, strong language (including "s--t" and "f--k"), cigarette and pot smoking, and drinking. The story is sometimes hokey, but Halle Berry gives a strong performance, and her character ultimately tries to become a stronger, better person. If older teens can stomach the unsettling material, they may find some inspiration here.
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Where to Watch
Based on 1 parent review
very good acting by Halle Berry.
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What's the Story?
In 1950s Savannah, something terrible occurs in the life of a teen girl. Years later, in 1970s Los Angeles, grown-up Frankie (Halle Berry) works as a stripper. Strange things keep happening to her. She has occasional blackouts. A crossword puzzle is mysteriously solved, and she finds a second closet, full of expensive clothes, behind her regular closet. After one of her blackouts leads to violence, she goes to the hospital. The staff quickly dismisses her, but one doctor, "Oz" (Stellan Skarsgard), diagnoses her with a multiple personality disorder. He begins working with her, identifying her different personalities and their sources. But can they pinpoint the painful events from Frankie's past that are at the root of the trouble?
Is It Any Good?
FRANKIE & ALICE may look like an attempt to win another Oscar for Berry, and she does give a powerful performance here. The movie has her switching back and forth between her three personalities -- raging, confused, terrified, but holding it all together with her unflappable façade. In one early scene, she explains how she manages to work as a stripper: She just closes her eyes and pretends that none of it is there.
But the movie feels a bit rushed and simplified. Director Geoffrey Sax opts to tell his story with a lurid, soapy emphasis, reveling in crude and shocking details before tracking the story's core friendship between Frankie and her doctor. Oz is drawn as a quirky outsider, much like Geoffrey Rush's character in The King's Speech, but he has less time to develop a rounded personality. Still, this lowdown, earthy presentation is far preferable to a snooty, preachy one, and viewers who enjoy the movie will find Frankie a memorable and affecting character.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the movie's scenes of violence. What's the difference between this kind of violence and the kind you might see in an action movie?
Frankie seems to use drinking, smoking, sex, and drugs to deal with her problems. What are the consequences of that kind of behavior/thinking in real life?
- In theaters: April 4, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: August 12, 2014
- Cast: Halle Berry, Phylicia Rashad, Stellan Skarsgard
- Director: Geoffrey Sax
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Freestyle Releasing
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some sexual content, language and drug use
- Last updated: May 23, 2023
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