Frida is a visually stunning film with a well crafted script that exudes the passion possessed by its characters. Salma Hayek stars as Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in this story about love, art and politics. Hayek is fantastic as the title character, embodying a woman who led a life that inspired some of the most interesting art I have ever seen.
While Frida is obviously a character driven film, the first thing you'll notice is its absolute beauty. Director Julie Taymor captures the bright colours of Mexico as well as the pain and autobiography of Kahlo's art. She also makes some of the paintings come to life at the times where art was Kahlo's only outlet. This isn't an entirely new technique (see Goya in Bordeaux) but Taymor blends them in such a way that it becomes natural and the paintings are so captivating that you want to be in them.
Hayek's was not the only strong performance; Alfred Molina captured her husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera wonderfully. Geoffrey Rush put in a solid showing as exiled Russian Leon Trotsky who took political asylum in Mexico City. Ashley Judd was forgettable in her small role and Edward Norton was only in the film long enough for me to realize who he was. It is safe to say that this is Hayek's film and, much to my surprise, she carries it brilliantly.
The story is interesting, thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining. There are laugh-out-loud moments and the rollercoaster lives that Frida and Diego live will keep you interested until the last 20 minutes. Once it becomes obvious that Frida is near death (I'm not ruining the story, I promise) it takes a little too long for her to get there. But it could have been worse (remember Evita?). This film covers the lives of these tortured artists: you see their non-stop affairs--the drinking; lying; and revolutionary plots--and of course, the triumphs and tragedies. Frida captures the passion that is possessed by great artists, appropriate for a film about two great artists. The passion in the art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera overflows into the rest of their lives, and the passionate characters create an interesting story line that combines with spectacular visuals to create a brilliant film.
Frida opens in theatres on Nov. 8.