Another Treat from Julie Taymor

So, a new generation of powerful women are very interested in telling the story of a powerful woman from our recent past, Frida Kahlo. The task eludes Madonna and others and falls in the lap of Selma Hayek. Hayek is well known star in her homeland of Mexico, but in the US has only been seen in a handful of movies including 54 and Dogma. She puts in a good performance. Some have called it the best of her career. I couldn't say. It was better than the afro-coiffed character in 54 and no one should include Dogma on their acting resume.

There are earnest comparisons to Camille Claudel in which Isabelle Adjani delivers a great performance. But the director of Claudel, Bruno Nuytten, delivers only a historical costumed bio-pic. What saves Frida from being an also-ran, is the directing of Julie Taymor. Taymor debuted with the gifted Titus on the big screen. Previously, she had been tapped by Disney to bring the Lion King to the stage. Taymor really provides a strong visual hand that keeps Frida interesting and fresh.

The plot is very simple, follow the life and loves of Frida, from her childhood to her death. She struggles like every artist, but has particular bodily pains from an early accident that skew her artistic eye. In historical analysis, Frida's paintings come across as something close to the Surrealists - which she did not enjoy. Taymor helps us understand the paintings by literally bringing them to life. Live action is often transformed to paint and the still of the painted lives begins many scenes. The technique has to be seen to appreciate it.

The music is lively, if repetitive. The acting is decent. The insight into Frida's life is intriguing, but the visuals are worth seeing.

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