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Early Review Of “Frankie & Alice,” Halle Berry’s “Sybil” Drama, Is Positive!

81215P6Pheewww! For a minute there, it seemed like this thing was dead and buried for good (see Sergio’s Whatever happened to Halle’s “Frankie and Alice?” post HERE). Since its 2008 production start date, there has been no trailer, clips, poster, release date, or even reviews of it – except for those few onset photos that were captured of a scantily-clad, disheveled Halle Berry, in character, roaming the streets of what’s supposed to be L.A.

Apparently, it screened for buyers (and critics) at the ongoing Cannes Film market, and at least one review has turned up online, and it’s from The Hollywood Reporter.

So, what’s in the review?

Well… surprise, surprise, it’s actually full of positivity!

I should first state that the review suggests that both Spike TV and the Lifetime Channel are interested in picking up the film – a little odd on first thought, that 2 cable TV channels on opposite ends of the spectrum are interested in the same title. But, in further reading the review, it does sound like a film that could appeal to the audiences of both channels – Spike TV’s men who might be anxious to see Halle as a “sex-crazed stripper” (she gets naked); and Lifetime’s women who’d appreciate the Sybil-esque drama. Although, it sounds more like The Three Faces of Eve.

Back to the review… like I said, it’s positive. Here’s a snippet:

Although six scribes credited with the screenplay usually predicts erratic story and mood swings, “Frankie & Alice” does not suffer from multiple writer disorder. Both clinically and dramatically, it’s an engaging titillation despite a somewhat flat last half-hour.

Throughout, its exhibitionist proclivities are evened-out under director Geoffrey Sax’s astute guidance and the intelligent, nuanced performances of Berry and Skarsgard.

In addition, the supporting performances are rock-solid, particularly Phylicia Rashad’s steadfast portrayal of Frankie’s supportive but enabling mother.

Scoped in a hard-noir style, with mean-streets Canada standing in for Los Angeles, “Frankie & Alice ” is a technically well-balanced entertainment.

So, there ya have it. Granted, it’s only the first of likely many more reviews, so we’ll just wait and see what others critics have to say. I wonder if Armond White is at Cannes this year ;)

Will the film find a theatrical distributor? I dunno… I haven’t heard anything yet. But, if other reviews are enthusiastic, it might. I’d expect a Cable TV and DVD pickup at the very least.

You can read the full write-up HERE.

21 comments to Early Review Of “Frankie & Alice,” Halle Berry’s “Sybil” Drama, Is Positive!

  • Nathaniel

    Thanks for putting this up, I saw the review on the films IMDB page as well as hers. I also read that the movie has been picked up by Freestyle Releasing and their deal will include the financing of an Oscar campaign for Halle’s performance. Anyone interested in the films status should check her page, there’s been a few updates this week. :)

    • Marissa

      Shawnjames2000 wrote this on her webpage for that site. I have to say it’s refreshing to see a man not who’s not memorized by her breasts to the point that he can’t even think straight. What a great post that goes into some detail, pointing out the things that I hate about this overrated sellout.

      “Read this premise and I was deeply saddened. Nothing new here. Monster’s Ball 2.0

      Halle mixes the crackhead from Losing Isaiah with Leticia Musgrove from Monster’s Ball and a little of Sally Field’s Sybil. The premis is Patch Adams with Awakenings for good measure. Polish up a second Oscar for Halle as she compromises what little dignity she has left.

      The great white hope is now played by Stellen Saskgard instead of Billy Bob Thornton this time. Instead of Sex, he makes her “feel good” in another way. UGH.

      Another movie as the great white hope saves the po’ downtrodden black person. *facepalm*

      Frankie & Alice follows in the same racist mold as The Blind Side, Monster’s Ball, and Precious. I’m seeing a theme here in these movies coming out of White liberal Hollywood lately, a theme that depicts a really patronizing attitude towards African-Americans. This condescending point of view from those rich whites depicts Blacks as people who are incompetent and need the help of “good white folks” to make themselves into “functional citizens”.

      *PUKE*

      Even with a Black man in the White House Hollywood continues to take ten steps back towards 40 years into the past. I thought we were past this kinda crappy storytelling chock full of cliches and stereotypes when Diff’rent Strokes was cancelled and the Cosby show hit it big.

      Looks like Mr. Cosby was the exception, not the rule.

      *COME ON PEOPLE!*

      Yeah, Halle is spellbinding, we get to see more T&A from her playing a stripper (again, See, Last Boy Scout for the first time she played this wonderful role). Oh wait, it’s a crazy stripper. Can she play a role where she keeps her clothes on? Can she play a role where she doesn’t sell sex?

      It’s a horrible time to be a black movie enthusiast. Films like Just Wright, Akeelah and the Bee and The Great Debaters get ignored by audiences while crap like this, Precious, Monster’s Ball and Tyler Perry’s junk get the push and support from the black community.

      Man I miss the mid-80′s to late 90′s. Black people played all types of roles and we saw more than one black experience.”

    • Marissa

      Question, what on earth is Freestyle Release? I’ve never heard of it. Do they specialize in DVD releases? Is Halle’s career in such a state that she has to settle for some bootleg distributor to buy her film after a year and a half of post production hell? This should be hilarious. Looking forward to seeing this sitting on the shelves of my local blockbuster. I might rent it, my husband use to think she was attractive about ten years ago. If she’s kept up with the botox and plastic surgery enough she might still resemble the person he was into.

      • Jay

        Freestyle Releasing is an independent distributor. Past releases include: The Illusionist (starring Ed Norton, Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Wells, Wristcutters: A love Story, Trois, Hairshow starring Mo’Nique and Shadowboxer from director Lee Daniels.

        They’ve also released a film starring Uma Thurman. So including Halle Berry (Academy Award winner) they have a number of high profile Academy Award nominees and winners in their library.

        They are a very respected in the independent world of distribution.

  • lorjon

    Who knows? Halle might bag another Oscar. Whenever she takes her clothes off, she gets lucky.

    • Marissa

      “Who knows? Halle might bag another Oscar. Whenever she takes her clothes off, she gets lucky.”

      Well, considering that they’re her greatest strength as an actress, I would have to agree.

  • Sergio

    I’m all for her taking off her clothes. I’ve got NO objection

  • Zeus

    Halle got a postive review and now Marissa’s head is about to explode! What a hater!! :)

  • BluTopaz

    Hell with another Oscar nod. I wonder if Halle looks around and sees any other Oscar (and White female) winners running around with their titties hanging loose. Really wish she would realize she does not have to go that route, she is a talented actress and plays a woman in despair very well.

    • Marissa

      BuTopaz, Halle’s resorting to the antics of a young newcomer because she’s desperate for respect and relevance again. In her mind good acting = taking off her clothes, it’s a part of the deal when Halle gives a “good” performance because she needs something to distract audiences for her utter mediocrity as an actress. Halle doesn’t change, she doesn’t try to improve her craft whenever she’s trying to wow audience the clothes come off. See upcoming role she’s in talks for Dark Tide as a sexy diving instructor. She can’t accept anything that doesn’t allow her to sell sex, a one trick pony to a tee. Now that I think about it, she’ll probably win again. No clothes + racist role = The Gold. Monster’s Ball 2.0. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a disgusting sex scene too once she’s cured by the great white hope of this film. smh. She is truly pathetic.

  • BluTopaz

    lol-I actually like Halle and think she does a great job when she’s allowed to show some range. Losing Isaiah made me cry, and i had a lump in my throat in Monster’s Ball during the scene when she lost her son-Strange that her best work involves losing a child even before she was a mother in real life. This Frankie & Alice sounds like a great premise that could allow her to shine, it’s just a shame that all these years after Lena Horne’s debut the best bet for attention for a Black actress in Hollywood is to degrade herself.

  • john

    To Marissa, Even though i don’t approve of Halle’s nude and sex scenes in some of her movies, don’t you think Halle’s mixed up life is due to her late abusive father. My dad died and left my mum, brother and i with a huge financial debt(which will take us 8yrs to pay) and an illegitimate child(a sister). When my mum asked him for money, he will say he didn’t have. But he was spending a lot outside. My brother and i are medical doctors now and have been financing the family since my mum retired in 1998 when we were still in college. I see a BIG problem with African-American men and fatherhood. Many married African-American men still want to be players and are not family-oriented. I have decided to be a better man than my dad(financially, maritally etc). Halle has childhood pains that fame and fortune has not cured. I am in a healing process right now. Believe me, it takes time to heal, forgive and move on. Once Halle realises that she needs to forgive her dad and move on, and she is healed, she will make BETTER choices in her private life and career(no more crazy roles involving raw sex/ drugs/nudity/racism and no more marrying the wrong people and choosing the wrong boyfriend/babydaddy). I believe Halle is a talented actress. Nobody is perfect. Let us keep supporting her.

    • Marissa

      How long can Halle play the victim? See inside actors studio where she admits her father never hit her, just her mother and sister. I’m sure it affected her, but her father is dead and that was forty years ago. If she hasn’t moved on or gotten help by now, chances are she never will. Halle has major issues and she’ll never get past them unless she accepts some responsibility for the things that have gone wrong in her life and stop playing the victim ALL THE TIME! Halle is beautiful, yes, yet she cannot keep a man, I believe the rumors about her. David Justice stated after their break-up that everyone see’s how beautiful she is, but no one knows what it’s like to actually live with her. Little known fact, her team tries to keep the press about this minimal, but Halle tried to kill herself after their break-up and Wesley Snipes hit her so hard she all but deaf in one ear. Mind you, Snipes does not have a history of being violent and has gone on to have a successful, long term relationship, she has not. It’s become clear that the men aren’t the problem, it’s Halle!

      My husband who works is a film critic in the industry also told me right after their break up that he’s heard rumors that Halle and Gabe were never dating, and this man is gay! That wouldn’t surprise me. Look through candids these people never looked in love, Halle never seemed truly happy as she did in the past, it looked more like a business arrangement. Halle did not want a kid with a black man because she wanted her daughter to have the same privlages she did because of her skin color.

      Despite being mediocre as an actress, Halle was willing to sleep with whoever, (see dentist who paid 180,000 for her headshots, dental work and nose job before she hit it big and had to sue for compensation + Warren Beaty stating he didn’t plan on giving her the role in Bullworth until they had sex) to get a one up on competition. She never had professional acting training she just had light skin, a good nose job, a nice body and shot a porn scene for Monsters Ball for the Oscar and bam she’s out standard for black actresses.

      You ever notice that black directors are never quick to work with her? Notice she doesn’t do black films anymore and even when made, they never call on her despite by far and large being the biggest black actress? I think she’s burned too many bridges earlier in her career. Other black actors male and female do not respect her talent, her ways, her desperation and willingness to do whatever, screw whoever to get to the top. Now she’s relegated to B-movie flop thrillers where of course, her clothes will be off again. Playing crazy is a last resort for actors to show they have range and can be taken seriously again. And it’s not even a stretch for most people in the industry because if you knew the truth, most of them really are crazy.

  • Halle what are you doing?! You are too nice and cleaver to go down that way.Is showing boobs the only solution to have an Oscar now a days? Come on!

  • ohsnap

    I just wonder why you never hear these arguments against nudity with regard to white actresses? Why do black people always tear down other black people? She’s too light. She’s not ‘black’ enough. She has to show her body to win an Oscar. It was the same with Vanessa Williams when she won Miss America. It’s really sad. And sickening. What people fail to realize or even give credit to is that SHE HAS AN OSCAR. Lena Horne, a very fair skinned black woman, still had to go through the ‘back door’, if she got in at all. Didn’t matter how talented and I doubt it would have mattered if SHE had done nudity. She was still black and held back. Halle IGNORE these fools. Black people are the most self-destructive race. OK, let the flames begin.

    • Jay

      I just wonder why you never hear these arguments against nudity with regard to white actresses?

      Actually, it depends on the type of film and it’s context. A film like Basic Instinct had pretty graphic scenes but, it was consistent with the story being told. At the time (almost 20 years ago!) the only question asked of Sharon Stone was about the ‘interview scene’.

      Times have changed and with certain Black actors now getting higher profile roles, the shift focuses to them. Unfortunately, the States still has the residual Puritanical worldview that equates anything erotic with ‘sin’.

      Imagine the outrage if a film like Last Tango in Paris or Intimacy were made in the Hollywood system. Oh! Le scandale!

  • Bran

    Why the hatered toward Halle? Truth be told if you aren’t given an opportunity then then you will not win an Oscar. Look at the “casting”” for women’s roles this year. If Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Annette Benning etc… were not white they wouldn’t be contenders. Does the race of the characters they protrayed even matter? Halle Berry produced and “Frankie and Alice” and if she gets an Oscar nod from the Academy she will have made it happen for herself-and-earned it. She fought for the role in Monster’s Ball too. For certain you will never hear a white actress/actor complaining about a lack of diversity in Hollywood (because they benefit from it.) Why in 2010 are some folks upset about “ANY” woman of color getting a nomination or recognition? What possibly can a a woman that is not white take away from anyone in an industry that has since it’s inception been virtually a “Whites Only” club?

  • Bran

    @ Marissa you are seriously interested in person that you hate. In other words you have a hate agenda going on. Go get a therapist.

  • Jim

    Marissa,
    I saw the movie. It is an imperfect, but brave performance. And Ms. Berry shows impressive depth and commitment.

    However, it’s ironic to me that Halle (she’s a producer on this one), not “Hollywood” has attempted to make a film for a black actress that has high emotional stakes and range, and you are the one who is bashing it to smithereens and manufacturing all kinds of sociological conspiracy theories about how and why it was made.

    You sound blindly cynical.

  • Mario

    This is completely subjective, but I think Halle Berry’s best roles are “Losing Isaiah,” “Queen,” “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” and then of course “Monsters Ball.” She has had other good dramatic roles, but Monsters Ball was so raw and controversial and well executed in terms of acting that it seems some ppl acted like she was a B list actress that came out of nowhere. She had an Emmy and Golden Globe for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge before she had an Oscar and she is respected in film festivals. Her performance in “Things We Lost in the Fire” with Benicio Del Toro was also very good. Halle Berry is a good actress. She has a great body of work ranging from ridiculous comedy, to ingenue, to strong character studies, to eye candy, to off the wall zany characters like the random crackhead from “Jungle Fever.”

  • As usual all these “cheap” arguments are related to black people.
    I’ve never read anything like that against nudity with regard to white actresses!
    Why? Can somebody answer?