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Hideous Kinky - (DVD) Review

Hideous Kinky

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer, Behind-the-scenes feature, Cast and crew Q&As, Film clips.

HIDEOUS Kinky is one of several Kate Winslet films regularly cited by her contemporaries as one of the actresses great and most inspirational roles.

Based on the autobiographical novel by Esther Freud, the film – which marked one of Winslet’s first roles post-Titanic – is being re-released in the UK on July 12, when it will also make its debut on DVD.

Directed by Gillies MacKinnon, the film picks up as disheartened mother Julia (Winslet) sets about making a new life for herself in Marrakech, Morocco, during the early ‘70s with her two young daughters.

Penniless and constantly struggling, however, Julia eventually falls under the spell of a con man and acrobat named Bilal (Said Taghmaoui), who serves as a father-figure to the children, but who often leads them to all manner of potentially dangerous adventures.

MacKinnon’s film makes spectacular use of its Moroccan locations and breezily flits from one chapter in Julia’s life to another. Sometimes this can seem scattershot and lacking in dramatic flow, but it makes for a consistently engaging experience that allows its performances to take centre stage rather than the story.

As a result, Winslet does get to shine, delivering a brave portrayal of Julia that doesn’t shy away from some of the more reckless elements of her character.

Crucially, however, MacKinnon doesn’t judge her, allowing events to unfold in a way that allows the audience to decide… while imbuing Winslet’s character with the wide-eyed wonder of a woman ahead of her time, set free in a magical new environment.

Taghmaoui, too, provides a charismatic, yet enigmatic father-figure… a livewire of dubious history whose way with the kids makes him deeply appealing.

The subsequent journey embarked upon by all of the principals makes for easy, often spectacular viewing, that makes this DVD debut one to cherish… eve more so if you’ve yet to fully encounter the earlier work of one of Britain’s most prized (and now Oscar-winning) performers.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 93mins
UK DVD Release: July 19, 2010