|Distributor:||Miramax Home Entertainment|
Salma Hayek makes up for many bad movies with her fierce performance in this sumptuous film. Hayek plays the Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, whose tempestuous life with her unfaithful husband, muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), drives the story of Frida. Maverick director Julie Taymor (Titus, the Broadway stage production of The Lion King) pulls out a wealth of gorgeous visuals to capture everything from the horrific bus accident that damaged Kahlo’s spine to her and Rivera’s trip to New York City, where Rivera’s political…
Salma Hayek makes up for many bad movies with her fierce performance in this sumptuous film. Hayek plays the Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, whose tempestuous life with her unfaithful husband, muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), drives the story of Frida. Maverick director Julie Taymor (Titus, the Broadway stage production of The Lion King) pulls out a wealth of gorgeous visuals to capture everything from the horrific bus accident that damaged Kahlo’s spine to her and Rivera’s trip to New York City, where Rivera’s political leanings ruptured a commission from the Rockefeller family. Though the script spends too much time telling us how great Frida’s painting is (rather than trusting in the power of the images themselves), Taymor’s dynamic energy and Kahlo’s forceful personality give Frida genuine emotional impact. The superb cast includes Roger Rees, Valeria Golino, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey Rush, Antonio Banderas, and Edward Norton. —Bret Fetzer
Barnes and Noble
The life and work of one of Mexico’s greatest artists is celebrated in Frida, the lush biographical film from acclaimed stage director Julie Taymor. Beginning in 1922, the film follows the life of painter Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek) from her days as a student to her death in 1954. At first glance, Kahlo’s life seems one of suffering, dominated by lifelong medical problems that would eventually result in amputations, and by a chronically unfaithful husband in Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). Yet Kahlo is no martyr; the film fashions a buoyant, life-affirming saga out of her struggles. This Kahlo is an energetic, irrepressible, and triumphant spirit, a strong-willed woman who faces the world with eyes wide open. Hayek’s performance brilliantly captures Kahlo’s expansive emotional palette—the exuberance, despair, rage, and feisty rebelliousness that was so often reflected in her work—and she earned an Academy Award nomination for the portrayal. As an effective counterpoint, Molina’s Rivera is surprisingly sympathetic in his big-hearted childishness and insatiable appetites. Since her death, Kahlo has evolved into a sort of feminist icon, and Frida makes it easy to see why. It’s a triumphant testament to the beauty and genius of a great woman, and it wowed Academy voters, earning nominations in six categories. In addition to Hayek’s nod, Frida was recognized in for its art direction, costume design, and makeup, winning the latter category. Composer Elliot Goldenthal’s splendid score, steeped in romantic and folkloric themes, triumphed in that category; although his collaboration with Taymor, “Burn It Blue,” came up short in the competition for Best Song. Gregory Baird
She was famous as both artist and model, infamous as political revolutionary and social libertine, and Frida Kahlo’s controversial life couldn’t help but seem the stuff of great musical theater. Her story is brought to the screen by director Julie Taymor, whose musical compatriot here is also her husband; Elliot Goldenthal, student of both Copland and Corigliani, shrewdly sublimates his modernism in service of the rich, evocative music and songs of Mexico and Central America. Utilizing performers that range from the contemporary (Lila Downs) to the folk-classic…
Hailed by readers and critics across the country, this engrossing biography of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo reveals a woman of extreme magnetism and originality, an artist whose sensual vibrancy came straight from her own experiences: her childhood near Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution; a devastating accident at age eighteen that left her crippled and unable to bear children; her tempestuous marriage to muralist Diego Rivera and intermittent love affairs with men as diverse as Isamu Noguchi and Leon Trotsky; her association with the Communist Party; her absorption in Mexican folklore and culture; and her dramatic love of spectacle.
Here is the tumultuous life of an extraordinary twentieth-century woman—with illustrations as rich and haunting as her legend.