Reviewed by: Ken James
|Featuring:||Kate Winslet, Saïd Taghmaoui, Bella Riza, Carrie Mullan, Pierre Clémenti, Abigail Cruttenden|
Kate Winslet is best known for her role as “Rose” in the 1997 blockbuster hit “Titanic”. In the 1998-released “Hideous Kinky”, she is “Julia”, a 25-year-old English-hippy-mom who lives with her two little girls in Morocco. Quite a change from “high-class rich snob on a boat” to “hippy chick with no money in the Middle East.”
This film could have been so much more. Unfortunately, the story drags on slowly and aimlessly (something the scenery, no matter how captivating, cannot make up for).
Why is Julia living in Morocco? It’s 1972, and she is a liberated woman not willing to settle for the mundane and ordinary. She is upset with the father of her two children (a prominent author) for not being more a part of their lives. What’s more, Julia is also searching for fulfillment in life. During the film, she is seen several times trying to seek guidance through prayer and counsel with Muslim religious teachers. Her searching is in all the wrong places, though, and those who know the true meaning of life through Jesus cannot help but pray that someone comes into her life to help her find the answers she desperately seeks. That’s why it’s too bad that the film’s only Christian character (a woman who runs an orphanage) shows no concern for Julia and is terribly unChristian in her actions toward Julia. It could be easy to justify this Christian for her actions, but regardless she does not act out of Christian compassion.
While Julia grasps to find fulfillment, we follow her steps as she meets Saïd Taghmaoui (Bilal al Hamal), who quickly becomes her lover for a time. They travel to his village, but leave quickly due to some uncomfortable circumstances. From place to place they wander. He leaves, but reappears later. Her two young adorable daughters, Bea and Lucy, are real troopers. They obviously love their mom and have their times of fun. But Bea, the oldest at seven, is often forced to confront her mom with obvious truths that Julia just cannot see.
I know you’re asking yourself “what is ‘Hideous Kinky’ supposed to mean?” Honestly, I’m still asking myself that question after viewing this film. The only guess I can come up with is that it is a recurring phrase that the 5 and 7-year-old daughters use some during the film. Perhaps it has something to do with the hippy era. Any suggestions? That’s not the only question I was left with… there are a bunch more that never are answered.
Sexually, this film was not graphic for its “R” rating. There was a small scene of nudity as Julia and Saïd are found lying in bed together, Julia’s breasts exposed. (They are humorously interrupted by one of Julia’s daughters.) Another scene of nudity occurs as Saïd’s naked backside is exposed while he is running toward the water to go swimming. (Nothing shocking exposed here.) The language gets bad at times, but again not overly so. The usual profanity and foul language.
The only good from “Hideous Kinky” is the on-location scenery and culture of the beautiful people of Morocco. The Muslim culture is also fascinating, though it is not dealt with in-depth. At the conclusion of the film, a self-sacrificing act of kindness and love is given to Julia and her family. Nice, but it comes about through thievery. Often the ends don’t justify the means. My recommendation: if you’re not in love with cinema showcasing foreign lands, skip this dud.