Frida Kahlo (played by Salma Hayek) was born in 1907 and raised in Mexico. Although her family life is austere, as a child and young woman she leads a very happy and active life, until one day she is involved in a tragic motor accident which leaves her with injuries for life. Through this pain and trauma, she finds her inner strength and works hard to regain her mobility and independence. She takes up painting as a means of expression and develops a love and talent for fine art. She seeks the mentorship of a fellow artist, the well known but womanising Diego Rivera (by Alfred Molina), and a passionate relationship develops between them. The popularity of both artists grows significantly and demand for their work grows all over the world. Through her art, Frida continues to express her strong feelings – her growing love for Diego and the roller coaster of emotions she experiences throughout her life. Both Frida and Diego are very politically active in Mexico and this brings them in contact with Leon Trotsky (played by Geoffrey Rush) and his wife after they flee into exile in Mexico. Frida has a series of passionate relationships as she searches for identity and escape from her difficult life – but she pulls no punches and we watch her, driven by her conviction for truth and justice in her bold life as a political and artistic revolutionary.
Salma Hayek inhabits the intriguing life of Frida Kahlo with seamless ease. She is totally authentic and believable in this role. Frida clearly had a difficult life, but she lived it with conviction and honesty – finding her true passion in her art and her relationships. She yearned to be treated with love and equality and this is a common theme throughout the story. It is very good. Support roles are very well provided by Antonion Banderas and Edward Norton, who are both strong. Alfred Molina is perfect as the unapologetic casanova Diego and the couple have a very realistic chemistry on screen – they balance their love and anger very well. Geoffrey Rush is a nice inclusion as Leon Trotsky. At the Academy Awards presentation in 2003, the movie won several Oscars including Best Makeup and Best Music (Original Score). Notably also, Salma Hayek was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role in recognition of her performance here, and that is truly earned. In scene construction, Mexico during this time looks like a difficult, but interesting place to live. Well done.
Made in 2002. Directed by Julie Taymor