Our Nicole has come a long way since 1983’s big-screen double-dip of her debut Bush Christmas, then as Warringah Mall worker Judy in BMX Bandits.
Flash forward almost four decades, and 2019 saw Kidman portray former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, the whistle-blower who precipitated the fall of founder Roger Ailes. She was also the best thing about box-office bomb The Goldfinch (Brooklyn director John Crowley’s adaptation of Donna Tartt’s best-selling novel failed to ignite). It was a rare dud in almost 90 credits; and let’s not forget she’s also found TV blockbuster success as domestic abuse survivor Celeste Wright in two seasons of Big Little Lies, David E. Kelley’s take on Aussie author Liane Moriarty’s Californian dramedy thriller.
She’s one of our finest, alright. SBS World Movies invites you to celebrate Kidman’s sparkling career in a week-long showcase of her incredible range.
The Stepford Wives
Kidman’s ability to hide behind a seemingly austere façade is part of her brilliance, though sometimes it is unfairly seized upon by her detractors. Those tantalising glimpses of something mercurial underneath the mask made her the perfect choice to front The Muppets maestro Frank Oz’s re-do of Ira Levin’s suburban dystopian novel.
Kidman’s Joanna Eberhart suspects there’s something amiss within an unnerving neighbourhood of subservient, cookie-cutter housewives. She’s right, and she is well-supported by an ensemble that includes Glenn Close, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken. There’s much more camp in this take than in Whistle Down the Wind director Bryan Forbe’s 1975 effort.
SBS World Movies, Sunday April 19, 9.30pm. Watch The Stepford Wives anytime at SBS On Demand after broadcast.
One of the reasons we love Kidman so much is that the Honolulu-born, Sydney-raised star has never forgotten where she comes from. Not only does she still shoot Australian movies, the megastar also happily goes low budget, as with Kim Farrant’s startling feature debut. Co-starring The Handmaid’s Tale’s hunky Joseph Fiennes and Priscilla legend Hugo Weaving, this missing kids mystery will fray your nerves. Kidman towers over everyone as a mother on the very edge and delivers one of her rawest performances yet. Staggering.
SBS World Movies, Monday April 20, 9.30pm. Strangerland is also streaming at SBS On Demand:
Grace Of Monaco
Way before TV star Meghan Markle tied the knot with Harry, Hollywood icon Grace Kelly wowed onlookers worldwide by marrying into Monaco’s way more glamorous monarchy. She said yes to Prince Rainier III, and their tragically ill-fated romance became the stuff of legend, so there was tremendous excitement when it was announced our acting royalty Kidman would play the Princess for La Vie En Rose director Olivier Dahan. The reality is a bit less rosy. Look, you can’t win them all, but they gave it a red-hot go, and it’s kinda gloriously trashy.
SBS World Movies, Tuesday April 21, 9.30pm. Watch Grace of Monaco anytime at SBS On Demand after broadcast.
The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Before deliciously wicked Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos crowned Olivia Colman queen in The Favourite, he teamed Kidman with his regular star Colin Farrell (The Lobster) and a deeply creepy Barry Keoghan in this thoroughly unnerving domestic drama. It starts with open-heart surgery, and winds it up from there. Trying to figure out precisely what is going on in this unholy alliance of William Friedkin horror and Alfred Hitchcock thrills is half the fun. Throw in kinky sex, twisted relationships and a bonkers Alicia Silverstone cameo and we are so there for it.
SBS World Movies, Wednesday April 22, 9.35pm. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is also streaming at SBS On Demand:
No, this has nothing to do with the Irish author of a reasonably famous vampire novel. Rather, it’s the English-language debut of South Korean master Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, The Little Drummer Girl). Equally as atmospheric as Dracula, Stoker is a twisted coming-of-ager that casts Kidman as the unmoored mother of fellow awesome Aussie Mia Wasikowska. The latter becomes increasingly enamoured with a suspicious Uncle she never knew she had (Matthew Goode) even as she doubts his intentions in the wake of her father’s fatal car crash. Jacki Weaver completes the Australian trifecta as the Stoker matriarch, and hoo-boy, is this unhappy family in trouble.
SBS World Movies, Thursday April 23, 9.35pm. (The film will not be available at SBS On Demand)
The Railway Man
Australian director Jonathan Teplitzky followed up his brilliant feature Burning Man (also starring Matthew Goode) with this deeply affecting true story about the trauma of a Thailand–Burma Railway survivor. Eric Lomax was a prisoner of the Japanese captured in Singapore during WWII, and the film is based upon his memoir. Colin Firth relays his struggles to settle back home, haunted by horrific nightmares, with great grace. Kidman, ever-willing to play the emotional pillar in a support role, is heartbreaking as his loving but frightened wife Patti.
SBS World Movies, Friday April 24, 9.30pm. The Railway Man is also streaming at SBS On Demand:
The Family Fang
Kidman’s snappy comic timing is an aspect of her versatile career that doesn’t get as much credit as it should. She is perfectly paired with director and star Jason Bateman (Ozark, Arrested Development) in this mischievous offering, which sees them play estranged siblings brought back together and pressed into detective service when their oddball parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett) go missing. Sitting in the sweet spot between absurdity and the sublime, it’s one hell of a kooky ride.
SBS World Movies, Saturday April 25, 9.30pm. The Family Fang is also streaming at SBS On Demand.
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