4 Stars
Year Released: 1998
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 98 minutes
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“Hideous Kinky” is a sensual, involving film beautifully directed by Gilles MacKinnon (Small Faces, Regeneration). Julia, a young woman seeking spiritual enlightenment, travels to Marrakech with her two small daughters. When the expected check from the children’s absent father fails to arrive, Julia is forced to sell homemade dolls in the street. After a brief love affair with a troubled Moroccan man, Julia is forced to come to terms with the reality that abandonment of the ego isn’t compatible with raising children.
Kate Winslet, back in form after “Titanic,” gives a mature performance making her somewhat self-centred character sympathetic. Carrie Mullan and Bella Riza are both completely believable extremely cute as Julia’s daughters. Through their characters the film presents a uniquely authentic view of childhood without softening the perspective because it’s female. Disappointingly, Billy MacKinnon’s script deviates from Esther Freud’s autobiographical novel and her first draft screenplay in that it chooses to move the central perspective from the girls to their mother. Nevertheless, the story flows well containing only a few plausibility hiccups in an otherwise smooth and involving narrative. Gillies MacKinnon’s direction brings the setting vividly and tangibly to life in all it’s teeming dirt and colour. Whilst one somewhat empathises with the woman who tells Winslet’s character that she’s selfish and crazy for bringing up two English girls in a wild, African country, one also can’t help but envy the children’s experiences.

Posted on December 7, 1998 in Reviews by

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