Based on a true story, Frankie & Alice sets itself up as a sensitive exploration of a complex example of schizophrenia, and indeed there are some thoughtfully engaged exchanges between Frankie (Halle Berry), the dominant personality struggling to maintain her status inside a cauldron of hurt and internal squabbles, and Dr. Oz (Stellan Skarsgård), the clinical researcher who reluctantly takes Frankie on, despite having withdrawn from direct therapy.
The film, though, turns out to be an uneven showcase of multiple styles — from the cavalcade of visual framing tricks to highlight Frankie’s fractured perspectives and the shifts in time (all barely contained by director Geoffrey Sax, known for the creepy vibe heard and felt in White Noise) to the disjointed performative displacement found in Berry’s effort. Berry can (and should) be forgiven because as hammy as she sometimes gets, the melancholy nuances emerge during her interactions with Skarsgård and offer audiences a sense of the fragility of the human psyche. Opens April 4 at AMC Newport on the Levee. (R) Grade: C