I’m not going to pretend that I’ve seen all of Nicole Kidman’s movies in her long prolific career. As a film fan, I’m actually ashamed that I haven’t seen one of her most praised works in 1995’s “To Die For” and also her early movies with ex-husband Tom Cruise. But if there’s something I can say about Nicole Kidman is that from the 19 films I’ve seen from her filmography, she is certainly one of my favourite living actresses. I thought it would be fun to do a tribute and look back at her many very versatile roles, all the way from the mid-nighties till today. Hope you guys are Nicole fanboys as well! Enjoy and bask in all her Australian glory.
Batman Forever (1995) – in one of the sad attempts to make Batman awesome (fine, it kind of was), we find Kidman playing Dr. Chase Meridian, the mask crusader’s / Bruce Wayne’s (Val Kilmer) only desire. Though the role didn’t ask much of Kidman (but become a sexy damsel in distress), we can’t blame Batman’s lust for her. Also, Hollywood was able to see someone more then Cruise’s squeeze. Let’s just thank the Movie Gods for creating such a heavenly creature (for Meridian didn’t even exist in Batman’s comic book universe).
Practical Magic (1998) – In addition to Kidman’s rebel witch sister Gillian, we get the chance to watch another Oscar winner in an awesome role that seems to be forgotten by a lot of movie fans, Sandra Bullock as Kiddie’s older sister. Playing modern day witches (with a lot of cheesy romance in between), the two get to put their own twist on witches in a non-serious but memorable role. Though the film isn’t exactly cinema gold, people should just enjoy “Practical Magic” for what it is = a magical chicklick. Kidman is of course is the most magical in it, especially when she’s drunk off margaritas.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – I’m not going to pretend I know the movie well. Heck, I just saw it for the first time yesterday (kind of my inspiration for writing this tribute). Anyway, I stick to my stand on Nicole Kidman’s over-the-top performance. Somewhat campy, she is still really enjoyable in the film. How can we resist a remarkable director like Stanley Kubrick taking a chance on an actress like Kidman? And its probably her most risqué role (nudity-wise). Though it really was Tom Cruise’s movie for me, Kidman’s line delivery in the end of the film still makes it what the movie really is…”There’s something we need to do…FUCK.”
Moulin Rouge! (2001) – Santine in “Moulin Rouge!” is by far the role Nicole Kidman was born to play. Sexy, funny, charming, weird, desperate and in love is what Satine is all about. She’s a crazy mix of emotions, properly executed by the match-made-in-heaven-director that is Baz Luhrmann. Kidman shocks the world with her singing and her acting in the film. This definitely climbs on the top of my HOW THE HELL DID THEY LOOSE THAT OSCAR? list. Kidman is undeniably great in this. And though it may sound very cliche, this is certainly her best role up to date. I really don’t think anything can top this. Her screen chemistry with Ewan McGregor’s Christian is also undeniable. This is pure movie magic. She makes love the audience.
The Others (2001) – 2001 was one great year for Nicole Kidman. In addition to playing Satine, she also played Grace, the confused mother who is trying to find the “strangers” (aka ghost) living in her beautiful mansion. I remember watching “The Others” when I was a kid and being very terrified by the story. As I got older (I am still scared) I realised that the movie would not be effective without Kidman’s very convincing performance. This isn’t a typical horror film that shows the ghost or monsters straight up for minutes on end, but “The Others” offers something more terrifying…an idea. Kidman gets this and brings it on screen. If it were up to me, she’d get double Best Actress nominations in 2001.
The Hours (2002) – Nicole Kidman’s Oscar winning performance for Best Actress was garnered by portraying Virginia Woolf in ensemble drama “The Hours”. Though I don’t completely agree with her win on that particular year, Kidman’s Woolf is still one of her most memorable screen roles. Plus, Hollywood will never forget about her…nose. Don’t get it? You should.
Dogville (2003) – After seeing this movie, I realised Nicole Kidman was a fearless actress who choose her roles very well. Following up her Oscar with controversial director Lars von Trier did just the trick to her critical career. Kidman plays another character named Grace, who stumbles upon a strange town after running away from gangsters. As she tries to gain the town people’s approval, Grace gets in too deep as the “kind-hearted” citizens of “Dogville” change to what they really are: animals. Kidman pulls all the stops in “Dogville” and doesn’t fail to shock. This lays in one of her best performances. This is Nicole Kidman in her peek as an actress.
Cold Mountain (2003) – over the last few years (and multiple re-watches of this Civil War drama), I begin to realise that Kidman’s Ada Monroe is truly underrated. She may not be as complex as Virginia Woolf or “Dogville’s” Grace, but Kidman offers audiences an subtle performance that is good in it’s own way. As Monroe, the actress isn’t only able to put on a cute Southern accent but is able to become a object of lust once again, but makes sure that we know that she isn’t only “the girl” in the movie. She carries the movie as much as Jude Law does.
The Stepford Wives (2004) – was a disappointment for any passionate Kidman fan. But hell, she looked amazing in it. The unfortunate this is that it went to waste because of how much of a flop the film was. Let’s just stare at the picture above and admire Miss Kidman’s beauty. (P.S. I was beginning to loose hope in Kidman’s comedic talents when I saw this film).
Birth (2004) – Back in her zone, Nicole plays Anna, a New Yorker whose life is turned upside down when she meets a 10 year old boy who claims to be the reincarnation of her husband Sean, days after is just gets engaged. Though the film isn’t for everyone (some may feel underwhelmed when watching this art house flick), Kidman’s performance is enhanced by a great supporting cast and a haunting score. I don’t think the pixie cut works for her too, by the way.
The Interpreter (2005) – 2005 marked the year of Nicole Kidman’s short decline. I’m not sure if she was just choosing the wrong roles or what, but sadly, we have a short break for Nicole Kidman greats. Though I personally don’t have a problem with “The Interpreter”, it did seem underwhelming. It’s unfortunate because the film seemed to have a lot of promise based on the United Nation based storyline.
Bewitched (2005) – clearly not a great film, I still manage popping this film into my DVD player once in awhile. Maybe because even before it was made (being a big fan of the series and all), I always thought Elizabeth Montgomery looked a bit like Nicole Kidman. The film seems to entertain me for some weird reason. And how can I resist Shirley MacLaine playing another diva actress to balance Kidman out? I’m getting Streep-MacLaine “Postcards from the Edge” (1990) flashbacks…
Margot at the Wedding (2007) – Not my favourite Nicole Kidman arthouse flick, but “Margot at the Wedding” is a strong addition to her filmography. Noah Baumbach tells the story of Margot as she and her sister (a great supporting turn by Jennifer Jason Leigh) expose family secrets and relationships during her wedding to a not so impressive man (Jack Black).
Australia (2008) – Nicole teams up again with Baz Luhrmann in the sweeping epic about their homeland “Australia”. Nicole’s romantic lead is no other then Australian superstar Wolverine…I mean Hugh Jackman. Though the film wasn’t well received by critics, the story of Lady Sarah Ashley during World War II Australia boasts an impressive performance by Kidman and magnificent visuals that Luhrmann is so known for. “Australia” was titled wrongly in my opinion (it wasn’t thaaat “epic”), but its an underrated piece of art in my opinion.
Nine (2009) – the role is too small to be considered great. The only great about it is Nicole Kidman’s ravishing good looks. However, it is quite a disappointment for Nicole’s return to the musical genre. She’s not the sparkling diamond in this one but I guess it was memorable? Actually it wasn’t…this role is Nicole’s least challenging of her career. She even did better in “Batman”…But what can I say, even acting god Daniel Day-Lewis was a bit iffy in this picture. Moving on…
Rabbit Hole (2010) – After the mess that was “Nine”, Nicole Kidman comes back on film stronger then ever, with her self produced drama “Rabbit Hole”. Kidman stars with Aaron Eckhart in another Oscar nominated performance that wowed audiences. She plays Becca, a mother who blames herself from the death of her child many years ago. Because of this event, her and her husband try to patch up their deteriorating relationship. Kidman is full of pain, angst and emotion in “Rabbit Hole” and lays as one of the greatest females performances of 2010.
Just Go with It (2011) – Kiddie then decides to go light in a very small supporting role in the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Anniston romantic comedy “Just Go With It”. She plays Devlin Adams, Anniston’s best frenemy who vies to be everything better and hotter then Rachel from “Friends”. This film restored my fate for Kidman in comedy films. If she does comedy, she shouldn’t be afraid to choose such delightful roles even if it is small. “Just Go With It” isn’t Oscar gold, but it certainly is a lot of fun!
The Paperboy (2011) – One of the biggest Oscar snubs of last year was Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Charlotte Bless in Lee Daniel’s “The Paperboy”. The film was no good at all. There were actually only two redeeming things about the motion picture. One would be Zac Efron shifting to more adult roles. And the other would be Nicole Kidman’s fabulous performance. She amuses and amazes as Charlotte, a woman in love that she may seem like an animal to others. She is also the eye of affection of the young Zac Efron. Some scenes that Kidman does is very risqué and may not receive the favour of some people (like peeing on Mr. Efron) but it’s hard to deny that she was terrific in such a horrible film.
What’s next for Nicole?
-I’m still waiting to see Nicole in Chan-wook Park’s “Stoker”, despite the mix reviews its been receiving.
-She’s also set to appear in three films this year playing Grace Kelly in “Grace of Monaco” and supporting roles in “The Railway Man” and “Anchorman 2” (Just Go with It vibes right there).
NEXT TRIBUTE: Winona Ryder