(2010) Director Geoffrey Sax: starring Halle Berry and Stellan Skarsgard
This is an epic voyage through the turbulent ocean of the fractured personalities of Frankie Murdock- black stripper; white holier-than-thou social climber; and young bright child ‘Genius’- aboard the sturdy vessel of Dr Oswald, determined white psychotherapist, who dives in with Frankie and pulls her into a place of control.
Frankie is paralyzed by hallucinations that move in and take her over, obliterating her present grasp of life. She completes crosswords unknowingly in someone else’s handwriting, buys elegant and expensive clothes finding them by surprise at the back of her closet, is apparently living several other lives she is unaware of as her wildly varying IQ scores in psychological tests show. This loss of control eventually leads to her improbable attendance at a classy white wedding of the daughter of a white family. It ends in a vicious fight, and she is charged and committed to a mental hospital under the care of Dr.Oswald.
Facets of the drama which occurred when she was a teenager, daughter of a negro family employed in that white middle-class household, surface as glaring testimony of the overwhelming power our emotions can have if we are not grounded, not firmly connected into our true nature. The masks we wear can become embedded in our faces so that they are impossible to remove. As a last resort, hypnosis will shift such cemented coverings: whereas meditation and mindfulness, work with energy and spiritual awakening, will keep the skin pores clear at all times. The psychotherapist Oswald, not currently working as a clinician, recognises his unique chance to unlock his own cupboards by unblocking Frankie, and they go on to form a lifelong partnership to keep the waters calm for her.
In a nutshell, a young black maid in service to a wealthy white family forms the back-cloth to the drama unfolding from therapy sessions. White and black? Will they ever truly blend on the human plane, or has too much damage been done through the ages – clotted karma, indelible stigma, rebirth after rebirth in the realms of Hell some call samsara? Predictably, the trauma involves deep love and its sudden removal, as such a love was never meant to be. Mr Pete falls madly and truly in love with his teenage negro maid, and his sister, the new bride of the classy wedding, forbids their union. So, the brave couple elope, but Mr. Pete, utterly distracted by his gorgeous partner of colour, is killed outright in a car accident. Frankie is pregnant and the secret birth is attended only by her Mama who delivers the ‘white’ child, and on seeing the skin colour, removes the little girl. The lovers had decided to call a girl-child Alice. So, the young Frankie loses her true love and the child she has invested all her dreams in all at once, and never recovers from it.
Gradually, in hypnosis, the haughty character called Alice emerges from Frankie’s pantheon. As she speaks more about Frankie whom she detests, especially her stripping, illicit unions with men, and hangovers, un-savoury comments about negroes tumble out to Oswald’s bewilderment. In a spine-chilling scene, Alice is standing before a mirror, cleaning her skin and talking conceitedly. She starts to apply white vanishing cream thickly to her face until her dark skin is almost covered. Oswald breaks in by reminding her that she is not white, which abruptly breaks the spell, initiates a sharp blow to the forehead in the glass, and Alice is silenced for the moment. This is a real breakthrough, and both therapist and subject recognize tearfully that great progress has been made.
This film shows us that we should never underestimate the power of the mind. The mind is the principal portal to the world we interpret. It is therefore imperative that we keep it in good shape, flexible, unblocked, flowing always like the energy it is. Please don’t get trapped like Frankie did. Let everything flow freely without any grasping. Allow the fine sand of consciousness to flow through soft fingertips, and smile beatifically as it does.