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.