Nicole Kidman won me with “Dead Calm” (1989), Phillip Noyce’s mean little claustrophobic thriller that traps Kidman aboard a small yacht with only a madman (Billy Zane). This was the kind of performance that makes an actress, and it did. The following year, Kidman became a movie star and for ten years delivered like few others (male or female): “Days of Thunder” (1990), “To Die For” (1995), “The Peacemaker” (1997), “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999), “Moulin Rouge” (2001), “The Others” (2001), and “Birthday Girl” (2001).
Those are just the highlights (in my opinion). Objectively, what happened next, was one of the fastest and longest collapses in film history.
Kidman might have won the Best Actress Oscar for “The Hours” (2002), but that dreadful movie was the beginning of the end. Though she has worked and continues to work as steady as Michael Caine and Gene Hackman did in the late-eighties, it has been one dreadful, disappointing, ill-fated choice after another. Other than a voice role in the animated “Happy Feet” (2006), Kidman has not starred in a film that wasn’t in some way a disappointment in over a dozen years.
Big movies, small movies — dud, dud, dud, dud, dud, dud.
And then, at age of 46, Kidman is cast as Grace Kelly — an actress she shares not a single quality with. I’m not in any way knocking Kidman’s looks or talent. It’s just miscasting. Kidman isn’t Kelly. Kelly was warm, accessible and yet unknowable. Kelly was soft, natural and naturally regal. Kelly has been described as one of Hitchcock’s “ice princesses,” but she really wasn’t. You were drawn to her. Kidman has her own persona, and it’s much sharper, colder, and distant.
If you were the guy lucky enough to get through her secret door, you suspected you would discover that Kelly was one of the boys — fun, funny, sexy, smart, and cool in the best sense, not cold. With Kidman you suspect that what you see is what you get.
“Grace of Monaco” is looking like a disaster. According to her IMDB page, Kidman has 5 other films at various stages of production.
How long is an acceptable losing streak, even for an Oscar winner.
The film business is beyond broken.
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