Geoffrey Sax’s Frankie & Alice comes with some warning signs: the words “based on true events,” for starters, along with three credits for “original story” and five for the screenplay. (It took eight people to tell a true story?) Then there’s the fact that this film has been sitting on the shelf since 2010.
Fortunately, Frankie & Alice is by no means the train wreck any of that would suggest, especially for a film starring Halle Berry as a stripper suffering from multiple personalities.
Frankie (Berry) puts herself under the care of a psychotherapist played by Stellan Skarsgard in his lovable eccentric mode, making the picture feel all the more like an unintentional, nudity-free companion piece to Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. (Speaking of such things, the Frankie character being a stripper may be factually accurate, but it doesn’t really figure into the movie’s themes, and it’s easy to suspect it was a happy conjunction of historical fidelity with prurient interests.)
Frankie & Alice is lurid — again, she’s a stripper — and occasionally silly in the way that so many multiple-personality stories wind up being.
It never quite shakes the feeling of being Berry’s self-conscious return to respectability after a decade of Catwomen and X-Men. Still, it’s occasionally imaginative, and, most importantly, never boring.