Salma Hayek makes up for many bad movies with her fierce performance in this sumptuous film. Hayek plays the Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, whose tempestuous life with her unfaithful husband, muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), drives the story of Frida. Maverick director Julie Taymor (Titus, the Broadway stage production of The Lion King) pulls out a wealth of gorgeous visuals to capture everything from the horrific bus accident that damaged Kahlo's spine to her and Rivera's trip to New York City, where Rivera's political leanings ruptured a commission from the Rockefeller family. Though the script spends too much time telling us how great Frida's painting is (rather than trusting in the power of the images themselves), Taymor's dynamic energy and Kahlo's forceful personality give Frida genuine emotional impact. The superb cast includes Roger Rees, Valeria Golino, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey Rush, Antonio Banderas, and Edward Norton. --Bret Fetzer
There was this skinny kid, with eyebrows, shouting out at me. Diego, I want to show you my paintings. But of course she made me come down, and I did, and I never stopped looking. But I want to talk about Frida, not as her husband but as an artist... an admirer. Her work is acid and tender, hard as steel and fine as a butterfly's wing, loveable as a smile and cruel as the bitterness of life. I don't believe that ever before has a women put such agonized poetry on canvas.
Señor Rivera, I must ask you one last time to reconsider your position.
I will not compromise my vision.
In that case, this is your fee, paid in full, as agreed, but your services are no longer required.
It's my painting!
On my wall.
It's the people's wall, you bastard!
I don't believe in marriage.
No, I really don't. Let me be clear about that. I think at worst it's a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense. At best, it's a happy delusion - these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they're about to make each other. But, but, when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don't think it's conservative or delusional. I think it's radical and courageous and very romantic. To Diego and Frida.