Nicole Kidman (Vintage) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/1/8
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From the brilliant film historian and critic David Thomson, a book that reinvents the star biography in a singularly illuminating portrait of Nicole Kidman—and what it means to be a top actress today. At once life story, love letter, and critical analysis, this is not merely a book about who Kidman is but about what she is—in our culture and in our minds, on- and offscreen.
Tall, Australian, one of the striking beauties of the world, Nicole Kidman is that rare modern phenomenon—an authentic movie star who is as happy and as creative throwing a seductive gaze from some magazine cover as she is being Virginia Woolf in The Hours. Here is the story of how this actress began her career, has grown through her roles, taken risks, made good choices and bad, and worried about money, aging, and image.
Here are the details of an actress’s life: her performances in To Die For, The Portrait of a Lady, Eyes Wide Shut, Moulin Rouge!, The Hours, and Birth, among other films; her high-visibility marriage to Tom Cruise; her intense working relationship with Stanley Kubrick and her collaborations with Anthony Minghella and Baz Luhrmann; her work with Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Renée Zellweger, and John Malkovich; her decisions concerning nudity, endorsements, and publicity.
And here are Thomson’s scintillating considerations of what celebrity means in the life of an actress like Kidman; of how the screen becomes both barrier and open sesame for her and for her audience; of what is required today of an actress of Kidman’s stature if she is to remain vital to the industry and to the audiences who made her a prime celebrity.
Impassioned, opinionated, dazzlingly original in its approach and ideas, Nicole Kidman is as alluring and as much fun as Nicole Kidman herself, and David Thomson’s most remarkable book yet.
“Compulsively readable . . . an entertaining romp through [Nicole Kidman’s] life and career that’s also a smart commentary on celeb culture.”
--Christopher Kelly, The Star-Telegram
“Illuminating . . . part astute analysis of our relationship to the film image and our cultural fixation on celebrity and part insightful film criticism . . . [a] starry-eyed love letter.”
--Tara Ison, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Thomson is probably the single most gifted film writer alive . . . an extraordinarily knowing meditation on movies as purveyors of dreams and desires”
--Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
“Rewrites the celebrity biography into a savvy exploration of myth-making . . . Dangerously smart, Thomson never lectures. He throws little gems and thought-provoking insights in the midst of the liveliest conversation. A passionate storyteller, he peppers his analyses with sassy anecdotes . . . and biting remarks on politics, celebrity culture and their commodification of human dramas. Bold, provocative, irrepressibly funny . . . will delight those who enjoy a book that has guts and brains.”
--Cécile Alduy, San Francisco Chronicle
“Film critic David Thomson has a crush on Kidman and he doesn’t care who knows . . . a shrewd book about the nature of screen acting, fantasy and stardom.”
From the Hardcover edition.
From her porcelain skin and icy blue eyes to her infamous romances with Hollywood leading men, Nicole Kidman has seen her own star rise. Now author and noted film critic David Thompson felt she commands another facet of the media spotlight: a biography aptly titled Nicole Kidman.
At the outset, I thought the first few chapters were a long introduction because Thompson fails to properly delve into Kidman's life. He focuses instead mainly on her movie role characters and the psychology of being an actress in a cutthroat business. But as I moved further into the book, I realized all the chapters were like that.
We learn more and more about Kidman as an actress--the way she throws herself into a part, how Kidman could identify with her particular character and the plot of the film. She's commanded great roles, such as Virginia Woolf in "The Hours" alongside screen legend Meryl Streep, Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" with soon to be ex-husband Tom Cruise and Baz Luhrman's "Moulin Rouge." Kidman's personal tidbits are almost sprinkled into the chapters as a mere afterthought.
From her humble Australian upbringing (and, actually, she lived in the United States for a brief time growing up) to her first small film role in Australia and finally making it big in America, Kidman has definitely made an indelible mark in the American cinema.
Author David Thompson is a gifted film critic, and his knowledge of Kidman's films is superb. Thompson clearly reveres Kidman, and says so many times throughout the book, but if he's hoping to crack that icy veneer, he too has failed to do so. When the book ends, there's still this unquenched thirst for a crack at Kidman's true persona.
Armchair Interviews says: Disappointing because so much was about her movies--and not about the woman who is the movie star.
When he does talk about her films, he goes out of his way to discuss how nude she gets in each one, whether you get to see "the curve of her bottom" or whether the scene cuts away "before you can see anything." In describing magazine features of her, he makes sure to note what color bra she is wearing over her "comma-shaped" breasts (huh?). He points out how the films she did make could have been better, and also talks a great deal about films Kidman was never in but he wished she was, including his own fantasy version of "Belle de Jour," which he even dreams about. That's all fine and good, but unfortunately he felt the need to share with us the details of his dream, in which a Gestapo officer and an elderly Chinaman "were having their way with Nicole" while he watched.
But the book is not just about Kidman. He spends a great deal of time dissing Meg Ryan and Elisabeth Shue, saying when they turned 40 they became Hollywood has-beens because "her looks suffered" when she turned 40 (Ryan) or "I suspect she had a weight problem that was difficult to control" (Shue). He even delights in telling us how he could have been intimate with Tuesday Weld (apparently a well-regarded actress in his day). Here is his logic of how that could have happened: 1) they were attending the same film tribute event, 2) they were only four years apart in age, and 3) his wife was out of town. Wow, that means anything could have happened!
The book goes right up to May 2006, when Kidman allegedly had romantic involvements with Lenny Kravitz, Stephen Bing, and Keith Urban. "Perhaps there were others," Thomson writes. "I hope so, because this trio does not seem especially substantial or rewarding." He notes that because she is a celebrity, it is harder for her to meet "real people... the kind of people who might love her and talk to her for years" - real people like himself, is the unwritten implication. The book ends with a June 2006 postscript that admits, sadly, yes, Kidman married Keith Urban.
I really could not fathom what possessed Thomson to write such a train wreck of a book. That's where, for once, the Acknowledgments of a book come in handy: "This book was the brainchild of Mike Jones at Bloomsbury and my agent, Laura Morris. They say they thought it up over a lunch." I can only hope their lunch settled better on their stomachs than this book did on mine. Avoid like the plague!