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Fur – An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus


Stars: Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey Jr, Ty Burrell, Harris Yulin, Jane Alexander, Emmy Clarke, Genevieve McCarthy

Director: Steve Shainberg

If your idea of a must-see movie is watching Kidman shave human hairball Downey Jr (and he really is downy – only his eyes and lips are visible under the hirsute rainforest covering him from head to toe) and then having sex with him, then you might endure this fatuous faux biopic of celebrated American photographer Diane Arbus which, it states, is “a film that invents characters and situations that reach beyond reality to express what might have been Arbus’ inner experience on her extraordinary path”. In other words, it’s just plain fiction, and pretty pretentious fiction at that.

Furball Downey who conveniently lives in the same apartment as Kidman’s character is the leader of the collection of circus ‘freaks’ conjured up by Shainberg and screenwriter Eric Cressida Wilson to inspire party with Arbus and inspire her to new heights of photographic creativity. What a pity Shainberg – who caught our attention with Secretary – didn’t realise just how pretentious and ridiculous his film is. His most notable achievement here was managing to persuade Kidman to make this filmic farrago. You would think after duds like The Stepford Wives, Bewitched and Birth she would have become a tad more cautious in her choices.

Alan Frank

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Entertainment. Colour by De Luxe.
122 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 3, Swearing 2.

Review date: 19 Mar 2007