Published Dec 01, 2002Director Julie Taymor utilises her signature impressive visual style to make the art and the artist's world inseparable in this bio-pic about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek). The film explores those aspects of Frida's life that most informed her work the constant crippling pain she suffered after surviving a horrible trolley crash as a teenager, her relationship with her family and her homeland, her Communist politics, and, primarily, her life-long relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). Frida's is a very compelling life to examine, for not only her personal triumph over adversity, her remarkably independent spirit, and her fascinating relationships, but also for her uncanny proximity to major historical and cultural events her time such as her harbouring Leon Trotsky (played here by Geoffrey Rush) shortly before his murder (and, apparently, sleeping with him). The film manages to craft a really loving portrait of Frida as an artist and human being without sanitising her faults and imperfections. In particular, the relationship between Frida and Diego is portrayed with an underlying current of tenderness and humour despite its often tumultuous nature. The fine leading performances aid this tremendously, with Hayek's surprisingly strong and spunky turn as Kahlo matching perfectly with Molina's larger-than-life Rivera. Taymor creates a visual realm that places the action of the film in the palette of Kahlo's artwork. As in her art, the Mexico portrayed here is alive with vibrant colour and teeming with life. Also, the film uses the images from Frida's numerous self-portraits to convey her emotional state at the time of their painting, often literally having the title figure emerge from her own canvases.