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Frida

Starring: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molino, Antonio Banderas, Geofrey Rush, Ashley Judd, and Ed Norton
Directed by: Julie Tamor
Rated: R

 

Film is a visual medium and the team behind Frida painted a masterpiece!

Salma Hayek does a career turn-around role here folks. Sure I've never been a huge fan - till now. Apparently she was instrumental in getting this remarkable version of artist Frieda Kahlo's life to fruition.

The heart in the role is big and pulsing. I cannot think of an actor who could have done a better job. Salma truly shines and hopefully will get a nod from a multitude of award folks this spring.

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist, fairly ignored until the 1980's. Now she's famous for her surreal depictions of the tragedy and beauty of life. She herself had too much tragedy and this is probably why her work had such heart. The film captures this life.

As a youngster she had a terrible bus accident that could have left her paralyzed for life. Instead she willed and worked her way back on to two feet. Her pain never stopped and Frida endured a lifetime of reconstructive surgery. This continuing trauma however seemed to give the feisty filly even more lust for life. She fell mad and hard and forever for swarthy fellow artist and mentor Diego Rivera (who Alfred Molina as puffed as he was still served a justice to), she loved like a man, she smoked like a communist, drank like a bohemian, and she managed to cram a hundred lifetimes into her short one.

The film follows her rise, her private moments and, of course, her beautiful art.

Alfred Molino who plays the "pudgy" Diego Rivera should also get a nod from several trinket giving venues next spring. Besides altering his physique to play the huge Rivera, he displayed his natural abilities to slip from comedic to dramatic with out a glitch in the transition. I love this guy. He's adorable sans the Diego poundage and usually (Dudley Dooright aside) a good gage of a film's caliber.

Geoffrey Rush has a small role as Leon Trotsky- another man fallen under the spell of Frida. Naturally Geoff's perfect.

Antonio Banderas has a brief but wonderful showing as the mad and life lusting David Siqueiros whose line, " I'd rather have an intelligent enemy than a stupid friend" is just a classic.

Ah but alas it is Salma Hayek that owns and steals every beautiful frame of the film. This is her baby and it's a bouncing delight. One with less soul in the role could have made us lose interest in Frida's antics or miss her bounding lust for life.

Thrown into the artful film on art are these amusing cartoon-like sequences Hayek narrated. An artform within an art form about an artform. Loved them. This new artistical montage trend, like in The Kid Stays in the Picture, is refreshing and brave. Julie Weiss' costumes may just inspire a trend towards Mexican wear. She mixed the brilliant colors of the land with the day's fashions. Stunning. Production Design by Felipe Fernández del Paso and the art direction by Bernardo Trujillo dotted the film to complete the spectacle. The whole film is beautiful. See this.

I reviewed the soundtrack here:

Snack recommendation: Tamales and tequila

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