Entries Tagged 'Biography' ↓


A boisterous and colourful biopic, Frida pulls you in right from the vividly represented bus accident that informed her life through to her death at 47. It’s got everything – a fascinating subject, a first-rate performance, a touch of sentimentality, and a visual sensibility that mimics the artist’s own surreal style. Salma Hayek’s injects the iconic painter with a stoic toughness and joie de vivre that belies her character’s immense physical and emotional pain. It’s also a great romance that gives insight into Frida’s on again, off again relationship with the adulterous larger-than-life muralist, Diego Rivera. [us, 2002]


This artistic period piece explores the unconventional and unwavering love between a delicate, gay writer and his devoted female companion, painter Dora Carrington. That the love could never be properly fulfilled results in great sadness as each partner dabbles in other love relationships. Emma Thompson provides the movie’s soul as foil to the flashier wittier role inhabited by Jonathon Pryce. [uk, 1995]

hilary and jackie

A tormented tale of sisterly rivalry and love based on a true story. Hilary is plain and grounded sister. Jackie is a flamboyant and famous Cellist. Yet, despite Jackie’s glorious golden locks, sexy way with a cello, and glamorous jet-setting lifestyle, she desperately wants what Hilary has: her husband, her children, her rural life. Emotionally wrenching performances by both talented leads, and, of course, luscious music. [uk, 1998]

boys don’t cry

Pain spills off the screen in this tragic depiction of a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Hilary Swank nabbed an Oscar for her ingenuous high-wire act as boy-girl Teena Brandon, and Chloe Sevigny dazzles as the fierce lover who yearns to escape her no-way-out life. It’s a bleak portrait of trailer park desperation, and yet it avoids the cheap characters typical of White Trash movies. All the players, from the boozing mom right down to the wounded creeps who commit their brutal acts, are acutely drawn. Intense, graphic, sharply shot, and unforgettable. [us, 1999]

angel at my table

Jane Campion’s film is based on the true story of New Zealand’s most famous poet Janet Frame. As a child the awkward, shy, yet insightful Janet didn’t fit in which lead her to being misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, and committed to a psychiatric hospital where she endured electric shock “therapy.” However, Janet endured, was finally released and began winning poetry awards and international acclaim. Although ultimately uplifting this film is quite heavy in places, and is quite long since it was originally a television series. Make sure you’re prepared to spend the time and emotional effort when you see it. [nz, 1990]

gorillas in the mist

With a towering intensity, Sigourney Weaver inhabits her role Dian Fossey, the primatologist who paid dearly for protecting the mountain gorillas of central Africa. She lost her lover, her sanity and eventually her life. Beautifully shot and occasionally frustrating, the movie soars in its portrayal of the tender relationship between the fierce Fossey and her beloved gorillas. [us, 1988]

mrs. parker and the vicious circle

Jennifer Jason Leigh drips acid as the booze-addled poet and theatre critic for the New Yorker whose way with words couldn’t save her from a bitter end. Fabulous hats and a barrage of bon mots marked the lunches of Mrs. Parker and her entourage of equally acerbic friends who lunched and sparred at the New York’s Algonquin Hotel in the 1920s. [us, 1994]

paris was a woman

Much has been made of Hemingway and Joyce’s shenanigans in Paris during the 1920s, but this film focuses specifically on the lesbian women who formed an artistic community in Paris attracted by cheap digs and a liberal atmosphere. Through archival snippets, we get a taste of the wacky literary salons hosted by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. [canada, 1995]

erin brockovich

Finally, a Julia Roberts vehicle where Ms. Roberts doesn’t need to be saved by prince charming. Julia (and her breasts) star as the title character, Erin Brockovich, an single mother of three who parlays a simple filing job at a law office into a career as the defender of small-town America against corporate corruption. Ms. Brockovich finds something fishy in a simple real estate deal, and digs further to find a billion dollar cover up involving polluted water, cancer, and the unknowing residents of a small California town. Definitely worth seeing. See it your friend who only likes Hollywood movies, or the guy who doesn’t usually like chick flicks. There’s something for everyone. Based on a true story (including the breasts). [us, 2000]


Never has history been so forceful, so heady, so thrilling. Amid a backdrop of flaming heretics, sumptuous brocades, and sliced necks, Cate Blanchett electrifies as the fiery Virgin Queen. The young Elizabeth exerts her iron will, but never forgets her people and gains political control over a country steeped in patriarchy and mired in religious conflict. She forsakes love her country and emerges a smart, strong, and sexy feminist heroine. Go Liz! [uk, 1998]