October 25, 2002
A big-budget bio-pic of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, this film boasts an impressive array of name talent portraying well-known historial figures that were important influences on Kahlo's and Rivera's lives. Starring Salma Hayek as the eponymous painter, the cast also includes Alfred Molina as Frida's famous muralist husband, Diego Rivera; Geoffrey Rush as Communist icon Leon Trotsky; Edward Norton as Nelson Rockefeller; Ashley Judd as famed photographer Tina Modotti; and Antonio Banderas as Rivera contemporary and fellow muralist David Siqueiros.
Frida and Diego were known for their love both for each other and the Mexican people. They were prominent figures in the Mexican Revolution and also in the renaissance that Mexican arts enjoyed afterwards. Frida and Diego were also influential figures in the early days of Communism, and welcomed Trotsky to Mexico after Stalin exiled him from Russia. Frida was also well known for dressing in authentic Mexican costume, and often elaborately braided her hair with bright ribbons and flowers to further demonstrate her affinity for the native peoples and culture of Mexico. Frida died at the relatively-young age of 47, partly due to complications from injuries she suffered in a bus accident at 18; although it caused her a painful life and untimely demise, her lengthy convalescence from the accident also led her to cultivate her painting talent.
While the lives of Frida Kahlo and her beloved Diego were quite passionate and eventful, it remains to be seen whether that excitement will translate to celluloid. Bio-pics in general are not typically blockbusters, even when the subject is universally known; while Frida Kahlo is a recognizable name in the art world, it is her husband who has the higher profile for most of the public, and neither are particularly famous from the movie-going public's point of view.. And although Frida is currently scheduled for wide release on October 11, 2002, the number of screens it garners may not be all that great, as that weekend also has three other, higher-profile releases, as well as two other limited releases, one of which deals with the Holocaust. Not to mention what looks to be at least two holdovers that will potentially display massive box-office muscles. Frida runs the risk of getting buried in the crush, unless Miramax unveils an effective ad campaign.
Perhaps Frida's only hope for greater attention is if the performances are of a caliber to garner the kind of critical attention that leads to award nominations. At the moment, however, Frida looks to make a small splash in theaters before heading quickly off to video. (Stephanie Star Smith/BOP)
November 5, 2002
Frida is being widely mentioned as an Academy Award® contender, mainly for its two stars. Considering that there is very little competition up to this point, Salma Hayek has to be considered on of the front-runners in the best actress category. Not only was she willing to go against the leading lady norm by playing a rather hirsute female character, but the performance itself is garnering rave reviews all around.
Though he’s going up in a more highly contested category, Alfred Molina looks to be a possibility as supporting actor. If anything, his role in the film has drawn even more attention than Hayek’s, and it looks entirely possible that he could garner the same kind of votes Marcia Gay Harden did for her performance in Pollack.
Frida opened in five venues in its first weekend and did phenomenally well, grossing $205,996 for an exemplary per screen average of $41,199. Miramax rolled the film out to top 20 markets over this past weekend, and will expand it to top 40 markets on November 8th. Since the project was completed on a budget of $12 million, it may struggle to be profitable, but any awards attention will go a long way toward getting it close. (Kim Hollis/BOP)