Frankie and Alice is based on a true story about a stripper with Dissociative Identity Disorder in the 1970’s. It opens with Frankie (Halle Barry) in the strip club covered in men watching her cage dance. She heads back to the change room, and a fellow dancer shows her the crossword puzzle she finished, but she just doesn’t remember doing it.
This was so hard for me because my sister was also a stripper with untreated mental illness. She, too, could become explosively violent and be incredibly charming. And she self-medicates for her borderline personality disorder too.
Back to the movie, Frankie keeps triggering out and having flashbacks. During a girl’s night, she takes a hot bartender home and has an episode. She suddenly splits his head with a frame-unprovoked- word spreads, and she’s fired from her job.
This hits pretty close to home as my sister had a manic episode when she was working and created an altercation with another dancer, and it resulted in charges and her being removed from the club as well. These untreated symptoms run rampant in the nightlife industries because they are indistinguishable to most people. Often, it is the families and the close friends of loved ones that are forced to fight with the notion that these jobs are often enabling, both financially and culturally. The lifestyle becomes addictive.
In the film, Frankie eventually gets arrested after attending a wedding (that she wasn’t invited to) as one of her alters. She is brought to a psychiatric ward where Psychiatrist Dr. Oz becomes devout to her. He becomes committed to discovering the root cause of her personalities.
I like the interpersonal relationship that develops between them. It’s realistic and doesn’t get romantic. It evokes empathy in the viewer and reminds me how important trust is when it comes to Doctor-Patient relationships.
She attends regular psychiatric sessions with Dr. Oz, and it forces her to recall traumatic events that led to her split personality. This was amazing to watch. The Psychiatrist found a camera and filmed it, which wasn’t as readily available as a tool in those days. I also think it’s interesting how easy it is to identify thoughts and feelings that lead to trauma with some Psychiatric Assistance, and this scene illustrated that well.
This was a film that did justice to people with mental health issues. It humanized people who battle Disassociative Identity Disorder, and it also showed you root causes. Seeing these things on screen, especially if you’re not related to anyone with these issues, in my opinion, helps with empathy and helps break stigma.
This movie is hopeful in many ways. It gives hope to those who battle the same issues as Frankie as she’s finally able to put everything together and try to live a life integrating her personalities. And it also gives me hope that more films can portray mental health issues in a real way human way, and not in a way to create more stigma by making everyone with mental issues a monster. I loved this movie, as it also gave me hope that there’s a chance for my sister, too.
I highly recommend that everyone give this film a watch. You’ll be better for it.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.