Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey
Rush, Antonio Banderas, Edward Norton
Salma Hayek's rendition of Frida, the odd Mexican iconic
artist, in this bio film by the same name, is a true work
of passion. As a young woman, she is badly injured in a bus
wreck, leaving her crippled and weak. Strong-willed and driven
as she is, she recovers and goes to the politically charged
Diego Rivera to ask him if she is talented enough to be able
to sell her art to help her family. From that point, she develops
a relationship with the philandering artist, one so volatile
that it deeply influences her art. While she herself never
really sees the greatness in her work, Diego and her family
see what a wonderful artist she is, even through her physical
and emotional pain.
The story behind Frida runs along several different tangents
that seem to weave together well. First and foremost is the
tumultuous relationship between herself and Diego Rivera (Molina),
which is only made more complex by his constant sleeping around
with anything that would notice him, including her sister.
Frida's own bisexuality throws a twist into the fiery relationship.
Along with this is a heavy dose of social-political commentary
as Rivera's heavy communist beliefs eventually both entangle
them into controversy and involve them in the political asylum
of the Russian Marxist Leon Trotsky (Rush).
Hayek is sharp as the fiery and headstrong Frida. Her portrayal
gives depth to an artist many may not have taken the time
to examine beforehand. In fact, Hayek's portrayal really goes
to lengths to give weight to the artists' style and the subject
matter of her art. Alfred Molina is a joy to watch as the
womanizing Rivera. He's egotistical, brash and all-around
loud and rude, but always manages to find a moment to share
a tender emotion with Frida once the emotional fires have
subsided. Many of the bit parts are performed well by an all-star
cast, including Valeria Golino, Ashley Judd, Antonio Banderas,
and Edward Norton.
One of the finest aspects of the film is the artistic flair
in which it is filmed and the number of dreamlike sequences
that are interspersed throughout the film, much like escapist
vignettes from the pain-filled reality that Frida lived in.
Also, there are a number of scenes in which Hayek is shot
in poses that mimic the artists paintings, as if she has become
the paintings before us. Throw in some wonderfully colorful
sets and costumes and a cinematic eye that's sharp and artistic
in its own right and Frida is a wonderful film just
Along with the fine visuals is a soundtrack that is enigmatic
in both culture and style and delivers such a strong series
of pieces that the culture of the story can not help but be
fleshed out in full detail.
If there's anything to be said against Frida, it's
that the film is as much a bio of Diego Rivera as it is about
Frida. Also, there are periods of her life, especially later
on, that seem to be unfortunately glossed over. I would have
loved to see more about her art, but with the pace of the
story, any time spent going into real depth with her art might
have just slowed things down.
Frida is a finely filmed and acted bio pic that fans
of art should spend the time to see. If you were ever interested
in the artist or just didn't seem to understand where she
found influence, this film does manage to do the artist justice
while capturing the essence of the culture and time period