Hideous Kinky

"Weak"

Hideous Kinky Review


Maybe it's a generational thing, but in the last coupleweeks I've seen two movies about the 1960s and '70s that, despite superbperformances and solid direction, just did nothing for me.

The first was last week's "Metroland,"a stoic defense of settling for a suburban commuter lifestyle after a wildyouth. The acting was above reproach and it even stars my favorite actress,Emily Watson, but I still couldn't bring myself to give it more than twostars. I found it dull. Yet, my Baby Boomer colleagues have been raving.

This week I'm seeing the same chasm with "HideousKinky," the story of a young, hippie mother (Kate Winslet) who dragsher two reluctant daughters hither and yon around Morocco, circa 1972,living a day-by-day bohemian lifestyle and telling the kids they don'tneed to go to school.

Although Winslet's performance is absorbing and flushedwith vitality, her character is shallow and self-absorbed -- a rudderless,ripening European seeking spiritual enlightenment by dabbling in Easternreligion.

Having left her philandering long-term lover in London,she has landed in a commune in Marrakech and sells handmade dolls in thestreets for pocket change. After developing a romance with a handsome,staid, lower caste street performer (Said Taghmaoui), the make-shift familyvagabonds around the countryside.

But her 7- and 8-year-old daughters (Bella Riza, CarrieMulan) crave some kind of normalcy and long to return to England -- especiallyelder, stalwart Bea, who insists on attending school and decides on herown to stay with family friends when her mother goes traipsing off againafter a period of relative stability.

Bea is by far the story's most sensible character, makingthe movie play at times like a humorless "Absolutely Fabulous -- TheEarly Years," with Winslet as a young Edina and Riza as a grammarschool Saffie.

The film's disarmingly natural performances from Winslet,Taghmaoui and both girls sustain the film for quite a while. Wonderfullypicturesque desert vistas and a vivid sense of culture carry it a littlefurther. But the pic's lack of momentum -- contracted from Winslet's character-- leaves the audience as stranded emotionally as the characters are geographicallyat times.

Maybe its me. Maybe I'm lacking the requisite experienceto identify with the conflicted current and former free spirits in "HideousKinky" and "Metroland." But I'd prefer to think that I'mthe one with the unencumbered view here, and that it's nostalgia, not goodfilmmaking, giving these movies resonance with Boomer critics.



Hideous Kinky

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Monday 26th April 1999

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Production compaines: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Arts Council of England, AMLF

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 18

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Gilles MacKinnon

Starring: as Julia, as Bilal, as Bea, as Lucy, Pierre Clémenti as Santoni

Also starring:

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