Halle Berry gave a full-bore performance in her Oscar-winning “Monster’s Ball” and hasn’t attempted anything similar until her latest film, the fact-based “Frankie and Alice,” where she plays Frankie Murdoch, a 1970s stripper with multiple personality disorder.
These kinds of roles are often award-winning tours de force for actresses – as in Joanne Woodward’s “Three Faces of Eve” or Sally Fields’s “Sybil” – but they risk running amok. Berry is a gifted actress but the personality shifts in “Frankie and Alice,” especially between a scared girl nicknamed Genius and a white racist lady named Alice, have a stuntlike quality.
It’s not just Frankie who is putting on a show here. Berry is also overemphatically showing off her chops. As the doctor who uses hypnotism to make some sense out of Frankie’s disorder, Stellan Skarsgard is as low-key as Berry is high-pitched. Grade: C+ (Rated R for some sexual content, language and drug use.)
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