Retro Review: Frida

Like a rich Mexican salsa or spicy Jalapeño pepper, Frida oozes with spice and decadence.

Frida” chronicles the true-life story of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek) who was crippled at a young age and suffered through massive amounts of pain due to her twisted back.

Eventually miraculously coming back from her injuries Frida rose to marry her mentor famed painter Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) and their life together echoed their many works in explicit detail.

Diego had an unquenchable taste for sex and women which tortured there lifelong relationship.

Frida lived a bold, daring and tortured life but produced some of the most interesting art of her generation.

Frida” is a bold and captivating film that perfectly captures the mind of this tortured soul. Hayek is incredible as this strong woman.

I have never seen Hayek act like this. I have never had much respect for Alfred Molina as well and snickered when I was told that he was playing Hayek’s love interest in this film. Amazingly we see and believe their relationship. Molina plays an elephant of a man compared to Hayek’s small and crippled frame. Even through everything these two endure, love does find away.

Besides the performances there is quite an achievement in direction as there are miraculous blends between Frida’s art and real-life. A scene will fade and eventually meld into one of her paintings. These scenes are inspiring and breathtaking to witness in celluloid. I was blown away by the power each of those fades has on the audience as well as telling the story.

The hardest part about “Frida” is the film’s length. It feels long as it constantly keeps batting at her tortured existence with and without Diego. I really enjoyed a lot of Frida but the last 2-5 minutes really didn’t harness a solid ending for me.

I would compare this feeling to the same as when I saw 2000’s “Pollock” starring Ed Harris. The performances were grand but it was just way to long to keep us captivated. Harris’s Pollock and Hayek’s Frida are similar in a lot of ways but the presentation in Frida makes it stand away from Pollock. I really found that Frida endures through the torture and I didn’t find that with Pollock.

Besides the length and the last couple minutes, I was captivated by the passion of this film.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.


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