Thoughts on Fur (An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 11:55 PM By Simon

-A lovely film, I don't care what you say. Visually stunning, magnificently acted (though I don't care for Nicole Kidman's soft and perennially breathless voice (it wears thin), and I wish Robert Downey Jr. would do more movies like this), small and self-contained, a domestic drama, an epic romance, and even a coming-of-age tale (if you like stretching) at the same time, all very surreal and slightly disturbing, like Arbus' (Arbus's? I hate apostrophes) pictures.

-One scene I liked near the end (spoilers, duh): Allan Arbus (indeed, the real Diane's husband, but as this is very fictional, he is not the dude from MASH) finds her roles of film while she out. He develops them, hangs the negatives up, and tells his daughters to leave, no doubt anticipating something scandalicious or whatever. He turns on the light, and instead of finding some damning pictures of Diane and Downey's Lionel in the throes of desperate passion (...), there are dozens of pictures of the stairway leading to Lionel's apartment, of his door, of slightly off objects about the neighborhood.

-I don't really like how Kidman played her, even if it was on its own an excellent performance. I get this is fictional and all, but I've always pictured Arbus as...I dunno. Jaded and sarcastic or something. She was a priveleged housewife, she probably wasn't like that at all, or at least not until later, but awesome would that've been?

-I also don't get the motivation behind this movie. It's not a biopic, it's not alternate history or anything. I don't get why it was made.


Alex said...

Good points, all. I generally dislike Nicole Kidman (especially her whispery voice, ugh) but did like the film despite that, mainly for its quite weirdness and Downey's performance.

I don't know why this was made- it does draw from a truthful biography but I guess the filmmakers wanted to create their own version, sort of make their own myth about an artist mainstream audiences might not know much about. Sort of like Girl With the Pearl Earring, though that makes more sense since there's actually very little known about Vermeer so postulating is necessary.

July 15, 2010 at 7:22 AM
SugaryCynic said...

I don't know if I can provide an accurate opinion of this film because I had an incredibly high fever and was on some pretty intense flu medicine when I watched it. So it kind of scared the crap out of me. I agree that Nicole Kidman's whispery bullshit gets annoying but I liked how she played Arbus with this sort of niavete (I hate spelling that word). She didn't know weird yet, she didn't know bizarre, she was just learning. And it goes without saying RDJ was great in it.

I liked the visuals best actually, when she finds the key, the door, the pictures, the color choices, all very surreal (or maybe that was the flu)

July 15, 2010 at 10:02 AM