Monday, June 11, 2007
ALMOST: (Shainberg) Fur offers us an imaginary sketch of the beginning of Diane Arbus, the controversial photographer who committed a mysterious suicide in 1979. Arbus's biography is one favoring the dark side of society. Growing up rich and marrying conservative, Arbus swings her interests in the opposite direction. She finds her own inability to feel 'normal' amongst her brethren to stem from the element in all to be a little freaky. Kidman displays Arbus brilliantly as a silent and curious woman, just barely able to sacrifice her innocence. Kidman's soft spoken voice delivers a fragility in Arbus's confidence that depicts the inner struggle this woman faced. In this film, Arbus (Kidman) gives in to the influence of the hairy Lionel Sweeney (Downey, Jr.). Sweeney, a lovable man-dog who introduces her to the people that become her subject matter: giants, dwarfs, Siamese twins, and other 'freaks.' Her husband, her children, and her society disapprove, but Arbus's identifies and loves each for their powerful courage to exist with such tragedy. Their love for life puts her own life in perspective and as the prior becomes less and less meaningful, her talent grows. Whether or not this "imaginary" portrait accurately portrays who Arbus was or what she went through, the story is good. I give it an ALMOST because the acting was brilliant and the story was intriguing, but there could have been much more. We are set up for loose ends with her daughters, her husband, and her own path. And, to be a portrait of someone so influential, it needed to tell more of her story. See it for its power to make your heart ache for the 'freaks.' Let it reveal something to you about your own judgement.