Who is the movie frankie and alice based on

Actress Halle Berry Talks about Her New Movie, Frankie & Alice, Mental Illness and Hope in NAMI Inte

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Actress Halle Berry Talks about Her New Movie, Frankie & Alice, Mental Illness and Hope in NAMI Interview

Feb 19 2014

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Actress Halle Berry appears on the cover of the latest issue of The Advocate, the magazine of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), with an interview inside about her upcoming film, Frankie & Alice, which will be re-released April 4, 2014 by Lionsgate and Codeblack Films.

Based on a true story, Berry plays Frankie Murdoch, an African American '70s-era go-go dancer living with dissociative identity disorder (DID). She is challenged by two identities: a scared 7-year old girl named Genius and a bigoted, white southern belle named Alice.

Besides giving Berry "the opportunity to embrace a challenging, complex role" as an actress, the film is important to her because it "helps put light into a dark space," she explains in the NAMI interview.

"People who live with mental illness often struggle. Others look down on them or have negative opinions of them. Hopefully this film will do some good. It promotes the importance of compassion for others [and] helps educate the public."

"My main message is one of hope."

Berry's passion for the role of Frankie was influenced by her mother, who worked for 35 years as a psychiatric nurse for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

"Stories of mental illness have been a part of my life and on my radar for a long time."

She also reflects in the interview about possible connections between creativity and mental illness: "Within my industry I have come across some of the most complicated individuals who are highly creative who have on some level suffered from mental illness. "

Follow the conversation at #FrankieandAlice. Visit the NAMI movie page and the official movie site at www.FrankieAndAlice.com.

DID is a condition in which two or more distinct personalities control an individual's behavior at different times. Once called multiple personality disorder, it frequently is the result of severe stress or trauma, such as incest or rape and serves as a coping mechanism. It includes a high rate of suicidality and affects women nine times more often than men.

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.


Frankie & Alice

Frankie & Alice (2010)
Starring Halle Barry and Stellan Skarsgård
Directed by Geoffrey Sax

With all the talk recently about famous people transgendering, no one ever thought of a story idea where a lead character has a multiple personality disorder and transfers between a female black housekeeper to a debutante, Southern white aristocrat, crossing racial composition.   

No one had to reach for that poignant storyline because Geoffrey Sax, a Canadian filmmaker, took a true story portraying a woman who suffered from a dissociative identity disorder and presented it onscreen.  Halle Berry, a seasoned actress, was able to command all three personalities wrapped into one person including a 7-year old genius who had an IQ aptitude of 156.  

The real African American Frankie, who grew up in Savannah, Georgia in which her mother was a servant in a white household, had at least two traumatic teenage experiences that split her personality into fractured states.  She fell in love with the prominent white family’s son, ran away with him, and got pregnant by him.  This happened when she was age 15 in 1957 in the Deep South. 

Two deaths resulted from that social risk and taboo tryst.  Her boyfriend died in a car crash while she was distracting him in the front seat.  She later gave birth to his child and her mother killed the infant after she delivered it a motel no less.   

There is a lot of pivotal positioning within the Murdoch family in one of the opening scenes as Francine (Frankie) Murdoch seems to be the mother’s favorite when she visits her on her birthday and presents her with an elegant mother’s necklace featuring two birthstones for her two daughters. 

Chandra Wilson, who plays Maxine Murdoch, Frankie’s sister, seems to have the full-time burden of caring for her mother in their South Central home while Frankie scoots in and out of their lives as a go go dancer who makes good money and is the centerpiece of men’s lust at a sleazy strip joint in Hollywood.  Phylicia Rashad plays the forgiving mother who seems to embrace Frankie’s every whim and affection. 

Frankie also lies frequently to her mother, saying she is attending college or going off to Florida when she is not. After the first scene with her mother, the tables turn when it shows the darker side of Frankie’s existence.  She rakes in hundreds of dollars a night stripping but can’t seem to pay her rent.   She looks through her checkbook and realizes she has spent too much money on a high end gown at a Beverly Hills boutique.  Her landlord pounds on her door to let her know the rent check bounced again. 

Fantasy diversion is present in Frankie’s life as she desires to escape the reality of her demeaning position as a stripper.  She dresses up and goes out to clubs, presenting her alter ego Alice as someone who is above black lower and middle working class.   She leaves the bar one night with a popular bartender who is really just a one-night stand.  She steps on one of his kid’s toys and spirals into a hallucinogenic state, flipping out at him and cracking his head open with a vase.  She walks into the street and crumbles in two way traffic.  The cops mistake her for a junkie.  She gets a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold and finds herself in a Los Angeles County mental hospital.  

A perceptive psychologist, Dr. Oz, played by Swedish star Stellan Skarsgård, taps into her beauty and presence as she reels him in with her Southern drawl played by her alter ego, Alice. Alice is the Southern belle who has little toleration for black people.

Halle Berry seems to have mastered the detachment of self-loathing of her own race as she projected the underbelly of her dual white heritage.  Within the framework of her persona, one sees to only perceive the characteristics of the white woman she intends to possess.  Contoured by her outspokenness in the county mental ward when interacting with her peers, she dances to funky '70s beats while the community television in the lounge shows "American Bandstand" and Motown favorites.  Frankie can be free in that moment. 

The set costume designer personifies that era well through Frankie’s wardrobe.  As the movie progresses, Dr. Oz develops a chalkboard of her primary three personalities which displays differences.  She is left-handed as the white woman with a lower IQ of 102.  She is right-handed as the black woman with a impressive IQ of 152.  She has 20/20 vision as Frankie and Alice, but Genius, the 7-year old, needs glasses because she is nearsighted.   Genius’ IQ is 156.  Frankie smokes but Alice doesn’t.  To take an IQ test and score differently means that Frankie had to be of those separate minds to embellish her expectations while being that person.  

The movie moves along at an acceptable plot driven pace but it is the nuances and quirkiness of the characters that hold the audience attention.  Dr. Oz drifts off with '70s style headphones with jazz any chance he gets.  His doting secretary can never quite penetrate his melancholy and emotional distance.  His primary companion is his cat.  As a doctor, he has a nice home but detaches from materialism as he obsesses about helping his most complex patient, Frankie.  

Frankie, who comes off self sufficient in the first few scenes of the movie as a chain smoking, self-liberated woman who stands up to intrusive men, later cracks in her Southern Belle gown as she is admitted a second time to the county mental hospital after attempted to stab a wedding guest at her former lover’s (Pete)  sister’s wedding.

After seeing Pete’s sister at the wedding, Frankie seems to have blackout moments that put her in a translucent state.  She is charged with assault with a deadly weapon but is later committed to the County mental hospital under certain research conditions.  The head psychiatrist is not thrilled with her presence and notices the obsession of Dr. Oz.  He questions if Dr. Oz is really treating the patient for her own benefit within the county budget or if it’s his personal pet project.  The psychiatrist releases Frankie after the criminal charges are dropped without notifying Dr. Oz.  He goes and finds Frankie after visiting her mother and sister.

The final climax in the movie comes when Dr. Oz puts Frankie in a hypnotic state.   Halle Berry shows her full range of acting skills as she demonstrates childbirth, the traumatic death of her boyfriend, Pete, and the subtle extinguishing of the life of a newborn by the hands of her mother.   That epic moment comes as the screen shows a flashback of Frankie giving birth in a motel as the mother takes a crying baby, smothers it and wraps it up for the garbage.   Trauma of this nature makes it evident that many people could be candidates for mental health issues beyond their grasp, taking one in fateful directions.  

Geoffrey Sax handled the material well and the aspect of dissociative identity disorder (DID) with his scrupulous subject, Halle Berry.  Berry herself has had to straddle the dual world of black and white ancestry.  Her talent led her to the first Oscar for a female black lead in "Monster’s Ball."  The more psychologically twisted movie parts she takes on such as  "Gothika," the clearer vision we have of a fully embraced actress that can create dimensions in the audience imagination to grip them for weeks after her commanding spell she has on all who embrace her skill and charms.

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The film Frankie and Alice


    1 hour 44 min.





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      1 h. 44 min.





      Oscar-winner Halle Berry and Berlin Film Festival winner Stellan Skarsgård in the suspenseful multiple personality disorder dancer Stellan Skarsgård in a suspenseful dancer with multiple personality disorder. The film is set in Los Angeles 1973 years old. Frankie is a showy black dancer who works at an expensive strip club and is invariably the interest of wealthy men on Wall Street. At some point, Frankie notices that her memory lapses are becoming more frequent, and one day she finds herself in the apartment of an unfamiliar man, where she just broke a vase on his head. The heroine is fired from her job, and she seeks psychiatric help. Dr. Oz, her doctor, says that another personality "lives" in her: the white racist Alice, who is trying with all her might to suppress the real personality of the heroine. Alice is the result of a traumatic incident from the past that Frankie has completely erased from memory. Find out if the heroine will be able to suppress her aggressive alter ego by watching Frankie and Alice online.

      Rating IVI


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      Trailer (English)

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      The action takes place in Los Angeles in 1973. Frankie is a beautiful black go-go dancer. The film opens with Frankie performing at a local strip club. The black beauty is one of the best dancers in the establishment where businessmen from Wall Street converge.

      Frankie soon becomes interested in a famous bartender. She agrees to go to his house for casual, non-committal sex. As a result of the night's adventure, Franky passes out, and then comes to his senses and finds his partner with a crack in his head, and nearby - a broken vase. Frankie crushed his head. But why? She cannot understand this.

      Soon news of her violent behavior is spreading throughout the strip club. Frankie is fired. She is looking for a job. But she has a series of similar manic episodes that prevent her from living.

      The girl goes to a psychiatrist. During the session, Frankie learns that she has two alter egos: Genius, a seven-year-old child, and Alice, a white racist woman, whom Frankie is trying to overcome in herself. Frankie starts seeing a psychiatrist regularly. Thanks to this, she remembers those events from the past that led to her split personality.

      During another session, she recalls how in her youth she loved a white man who died in a car accident while they were both in the car. At the same time, she sees that she was pregnant. She has a white baby, and minutes after he is born, her own mother takes him away to kill (due to racial prejudice). These events provoked Frankie's split personality.

      A girl watches her sessions with a psychiatrist on videotape. For the heroine, everything falls into place, the wounds begin to heal. Franky says he can control himself now.

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    • The film is based on the real life of a popular 70s go-go dancer who suffered from dissociative identity disorder.
    • In 2011, Halle Berry was nominated for a Golden Globe for her leading role in this film.
    • Filmed in Vancouver, Canada from November 2008 and finished January 2009of the year.
    • The film was released on December 10, 2010, but due to participation in festivals, it was only released on April 4, 2014.
    • The composer of the project is Andrew Lockington, a Canadian musician known for his films "Body Swap" and "One Week".
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      2010, Drama, Foreign, Canada

      The film is about Frankie, a young go-go dancer living in the city of angels. The girl works in a nightclub, and after work she likes to have fun with booze, drugs and men. A hectic lifestyle brings Frankie to the bottom. In order to get out of there, she has to go to a psychiatric hospital. After the shocks experienced, Frankie begins to suffer from a severe personality disorder.

      Frankie and Alice dramatized biopic tells the life story of a popular go-go dancer in the 70s with dissociative identity disorder. The film was directed by Jeffrey Sachs, widely known for his work White Noise, Thunderbolt, Christopher and others like him. Filming took place in Vancouver and lasted three months. The main role was played by actress Halle Berry, one of Ivana Chubbuck's students. Her most successful works include Chasing the Sun, Gothic, X-Men.

      Interestingly, the film premiered in December 2010, but due to its participation in numerous festivals, the release was delayed for four years. Canadian Andrew Lockington, who had previously created musical accompaniment for the films City of Ember: Escape, One Week, was invited as a composer.

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