HOLLYWOOD—What is it about indie flicks that make them so incredible?  Is it the story of survival and triumph against unbearable odds or is it the performances from the actors in the film that captivate audiences?  These are just a few questions that movie buffs ask themselves time and time again when we view such powerful pictures. Oscar winners Halle Berry and Nicole Kidman star in two films that are currently generating buzz and rave reviews.

Berry triumphantly returns to the screen in the drama “Frankie and Alice,” a true story about a 1970s dancer who suffers from multiple personality disorder.  One of her personalities is that of a racist white woman, the twist is the fact that Berry’s character is African-American. The other personality is that of a 7-year-old child.  Her performance has already earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama.  The film also stars Stellan Skarsgard, Phylicia Rashad and Chandra Wilson.

Audiences love a great movie that is a character study and “Frankie and Alice” is just that, a story about the demons that lie inside us and the struggles we endure on a daily basis to keep those demons locked away or to confront them in order to move on with our life.

We all like to acknowledge that we have alternate personalities, but how many of us actually lose control of ourselves when that alternate takes over?  I’d say not many. We like to believe we’re in control, but only those who truly suffer from multiple personality disorder can understand the feeling of losing control as Berry uncompromisingly portrays in the film.

Nicole Kidman is receiving rave reviews for her portrayal as a mother mourning the loss of her child in a tragic accident in “Rabbit Hole.”  The movie is based on the 2006 Tony Award winning play that starred “Sex and the City” alum Cynthia Nixon.  Kidman portrays Becca who is unable to come to terms with the death of her young son.  His death takes a toll on her marriage to Howie (Aaron Eckhart) who unlike Becca is keen on preserving the memories of their son.  Kidman has already been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama, as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Actress.

This film plays with a realistic approach about memories of someone who has passed away.  While for many people preserving pictures, videos or belongings of that loved one keeps their presence intact, others may find those things as a never-ending reminder that the person is no longer with them; an issue that Becca struggles with throughout the film that creates conflict with her husband.

Kidman’s performance is cold yet riveting; you’re made to dislike this person because of her blunt reactions to people, but at the same time you’re forced to place yourself into the character’s shoes. How would you react to the loss of a child?  Many of us don’t have the answer to that question because we haven’t experienced such a tragedy.  People respond to tragedy in unspeakable ways; Becca and Howie’s reaction is a bit more complicated. Grief strikes us in a variety of ways and it takes some weeks, months, even years to overcome it and not understanding why, makes things that more compelling.  Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest also stars in the film as Becca’s mother, Nat.

Both “Rabbit Hole” and “Frankie and Alice” are two indie films that anyone who is a fan of riveting cinema and storytelling should see.  “Rabbit Hole” opens nationwide on January 14, while “Frankie and Alice” is expected to open nationwide on February 4.