Nicole Kidman Hate Finally Explained!
What are your thoughts on Nicole Kidman?
Is she one of the best actresses of her generation?
What contributes to Nicole Kidman hate?
Check out my video response below:
Old Simo YouTube video library here
Nicole Kidman is one of the best actresses of her generation. She was dubbed the “Queen of Cannes” at this year’s Cannes film festival. It suits her.
She had four diverse projects to showcase: John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, Yiorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of A Sacred Deer, and Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake TV Show series 2.
-Strong character acting.
-Working with talented and diverse directors.
HBO’s TV series Big Little Lies was another triumph. Big Little Lies was often credited as a “breakthrough” role for Nicole. That’s odd. She “broke through” a long time ago. I decided to research public opinion. I was shocked to discover the Nicole Kidman hate.
There are two claims that make up the Nicole Kidman hate.
There’s a general belief among the masses of Australia and the US that Kidman is a bad actress. Times Online writer Melanie Reid stated “She can’t act. She drifts around films like a lost porcelain doll, looking frozen, brittle and vapid, staring at the camera with her self indulgent blue eyes”. I spoke to a number of people in both nations and I was surprised to hear this sentiment echoed. Nicole Kidman hate is intense!
The other claim was that she always makes “flop films”. One factor was evident from my discussions and research into these claims. Everyone holding beliefs of her poor acting skills has only seen her blockbuster studio films. They only watch films that play at shopping mall cinemas. They’ve not seen any of her independent, art house, or off beat films. Those projects showcase her great acting abilities.
Her highly acclaimed and crowd pleasing performance in Moulin Rouge was not very interesting or memorable yet it’s the one role that these people claim was her best effort.
The following films were rubbish:
Far and Away, Batman Forever, Cold Mountain, The Peacemaker, The Stepford Wives, Bewitched, The Golden Compass, The Invasion, Australia, Nine, Just Go With It, and Trespass.
She has stated that blockbuster films don’t suit her and she’s right. I wonder why she has made so many of them.
Another claim is that she’s “cold” and “not likable”. People love the standard American sweet heart celebrity. They want a “sassy and bubbly” type. Think Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston, and Cameron Diaz. In other words, average to bad actresses who make mostly crowd pleasing syrupy and safe blockbusters.
They’ve got personalities to match. Being likeable is top priority. They have those palatable animated jovial personalities that make them endearing to the masses. These are the type of female celebrity personalities that make me feel unwell.
Nicole Kidman hate makes perfect sense here. Kidman doesn’t have that type of personality. She has the presence and presentation of a European actress: Cool, aloof, reserved, and steely. Similar to Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Rampling, Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche. That’s the same reason why these actresses are not mainstream favourites in the US or Australia and the same reason why they are all big hits (along with Kidman) at Cannes.
I admit that I was not a Kidman fan in the beginning but she managed to convert me, which is not an easy task. I was impressed by the thriller Dead Calm (1988). She was good in it. I thought it was the beginning of something. Days of Thunder and Far and Away diminished that hope.
Hope was officially restored with To Die For (1995). Her wonderfully offbeat performance as a narcissistic and murderous weather woman had her back on track. Her next impressive film choice was Jane Campion’s Portrait of a Lady (1996). It was her most difficult role up to that point. She did a good job. However, she was easily overshadowed by the strong performances of John Malkovich and Barbara Hershey.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) was Kidman’s first compelling performance. Masterfully directed by Stanley Kubrick, the film was a surreal and fascinating journey into the sexual heartland of a marriage in sexual crisis. Kidman delivered her first knockout scene in Eyes Wide Shut. Her monologue confession of sexual desire for another man that throws her husband into despair was epic.
A solid performance in the well made thriller The Others (2001) followed. The Hours (2002) was a brilliant and emotionally explicit film that changed my life and how I viewed humanity. Superbly written by David Hare ( who also wrote great screenplays for Damage and The Reader), it provided a vehicle for an ensemble cast to shine. Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Ed Harris contributed to the memorable film. Kidman took on the challenging role of Virginia Woolf. Her train station scene was beautiful. It is around this time that Kidman diversity was at its peak.
Working with Lars Von Trier was a wise decision. They collaborated on Dogville (2003). Von Trier is an expert on depicting the pitfalls and ugliness of human nature. Dogville is a perfect representation of Von Trier’s contempt for human beings. Kidman embodies her character’s journey: From hope and optimism to despair and cynicism. Her scenes with James Caan are especially chilling.
Kidman’s next ambitious project was Birth (2004). Her character’s life is thrown into chaos when an 8 year old boy appears on her doorstep. He claims to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. Birth features one of Kidman’s greatest moments in cinema. A close up on her face that lasts for under 5 minutes. She communicates so many different emotions without uttering a word. Superb.
Other role highlights include Rabbit Hole (2012), Stoker (2013) and The Railway Man (2013). I especially enjoyed her white trailer trash woman with a fetish for incarcerated men in The Paperboy (2010). Also her touching Oscar nominated performance as a gentle and loving mother in Lion (2016).
Kidman would have been the perfect actress for Swedish legendary director Ingmar Bergman (If Kidman could speak Swedish and was an actress in the 1960s-1970s). Her look and style of acting epitomizes Bergman cinema.
She hasn’t always chosen quality projects that suit her but honestly who has? She’s a dynamite character actress. She shouldn’t be condemned simply because she doesn’t have the standard nauseating Hollywood sweet heart personality.
I look forward to seeing her latest projects, particularly The Killing of A Sacred Deer and Top of the Lake Season 2. Watch this space for reviews!