Rated NR

This biopic about the hard-living and free-thinking German-Mexican artist Frida Kahlo might just as well have been titled Frida & Diego, because it focuses so on Kahlo’s life with her mentor and husband, the famous Communista muralist Diego Rivera. Salma Hayak doesn’t disappoint us as Frida, even though (as my mother notes) the actress is far too pretty for the role. And the always-terrific Alfred Molina is electrifying as the bear-like Diego. The bare-bones narrative follows a basic biographical time-line of the unconventional lives of Kahlo and Rivera, but theirs were full enough to make the plot more than engaging. And director Julie Taymor (Titus) employs a vividly colorful palette and some elements of magical realism—paintings morph into living scenes and vice versa. Some supporting roles, though, leave much to be desired. Neither Geoffrey Rush (Leon Trotsky), Edward Norton (Nelson Rockefeller) nor Ashley Judd (Tina Modotti) contributes more than historical caricatures.

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