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April 1999


Hideous Kinky
by Glenn Kenny

     God bless Kate Winslet. So many of her fellow actresses of British linage or
     association derive their so-called charisma by glaring poutily into a camera (as
     if they're thinking really deep thoughts such as, "Can I make it to Prada after
     this photo shoot, I wonder?") and maintaining dress sizes that aren't even
     whole numbers. While Winslet does have one of the best pouts in the business,
     she's just as ready with a radiant smile. And, even more important, when she's
     feeling Rubenesque, she goes with the feeling. Her screen presence has a
     robust vibrant, generous sensuality, whereas to contemplate a snogging
     session with Claire Forlani, Cate Blanchett, et al. is to experience an unpleasant
     apprehension that you might get your eyeballs poked out by an elbow.

     Winslet's unpretentious liveliness and bravery as an actress are the two best
     reasons to see Hideous Kinky. And just as an aside: Another reason we love
     Kate is that we can't think of any other actress who would follow a lead role in
     the biggest money-maker of all time with one in a movie that has such a
     seemingly unseemly title. (In any case, it's not what you think.) Directed by
     Gillies MacKinnon and based on a book by Esther Freud, Kinky is the story of
     the World's Worst Hippie-Chick Mom, a woman who takes her two small
     daughters to Morocco circa 1972 to endure awful living conditions, resentful
     locals, and other exotic menaces, all the while seeking a Sufi guru who she
     fancies will instruct her in "the annihilation of the ego." (Interesting that the
     source material for this movie originated with a descendant of the gentleman
     who made ego one of the key words of this century.) By any yardstick at all,
     this monstrously selfish character should be loathsome, but thanks to Winslet's
     empathetic talent, she isn't; her performance, and those of the two youngsters
     playing the daughters, are the truly outstanding aspects of this well-shot and
     for the most part moderately intriguing picture. A film-geek bonus comes in
     the form of Pierre Clementi (best known as the metal-toothed thug who melts
     Deneuve's um, heart in Belle de Jour), who has aged into a quite
     distinguished-if slightly decadent looking-gentleman, and here appears a
     mysterious benefactor to Winslet.

     Release Date: April 16, Stratosphere Entertainment