Biopic of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, from her days as a student in the 1920s, through a debilitating accident and a tempestuous marriage to fellow painter, Diego Rivera.
Uglying-up with a home-grown moustache may help Salma Hayek in the Oscar running, but her performance as artist Frida Kahlo shouldn't do any harm either. Whether she's joking her way through the effects of a disabling accident, swinging Ashley Judd around the dance floor or trying to justify her marriage to a serial infidel, it's the human side of the painter that we see here.
With its affection for its subject and playful sense of humour, Taymor's film invites sympathy for Frida the woman before Frida the artist. Internal struggles are expressed visually, as they were in the artist's life - already coloured like a Kahlo painting, the film breaks several times for more marked animated tributes to her painting technique. This emphasis on visual style and dramatic events over soul-searching dialogue does, however, create some emotional distance.
An entertaining biopic with strong performances, this is a vivid portrait that avoids showiness despite forays into experimental visual styles. TaymorÆs choice not to get right under KahloÆs skin pays tribute to the painterÆs mysterious allure while limit
Reviewed by Anna Smith