Frida

Salma Hayek gives it her all playing Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist known for her bisexual appetites, her substance abuse, her back injuries sustained in a bus accident, her stormy marriage to fellow painter Diego Rivera (a scruffy, splendid Alfred Molina), her affair with Leon Trotsky (a pinched Geoffrey Rush) and her refusal to tweeze her eyebrows.

Frida, with a script partly written by Hayek's boyfriend, Edward Norton (who does a cameo as Nelson Rockefeller), crams it all in. That's the trouble. Director Julie Taymor (Titus, Broadway's The Lion King) keeps everything lively and colorful, but this maverick is hamstrung by a script that seems determined to stop at all the big moments in Frida's life (she died in 1954 at age forty-seven) without giving anything time to resonate. Hayek fought hard for the role (J. Lo and — yikes! — Madonna wanted to play Frida), but her passion fights a losing battle with biopic conventions.

From The Archives Issue 909: November 14, 2002
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