Salma Hayek's EyebrowsHave you ever seen a movie that resonated within you like a swarm of bees, that made sleep impossible for all of the buzzing and wild wings beating against your heart, your very essence? Rare is the film that does that to me, and last night I experienced one such film -- Frida, starring (and co-produced by) Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo, the Mexican/communist/bisexual/totally intoxicating/tragic/divine surrealist painter who made her mark in the thirties.
I’m ashamed to admit that I’d not heard of Frida Kahlo before Ms. Hayek’s critically acclaimed portrayal -- I’m woefully ignorant of the artworld -- but was curious to see this film based on (and this is really embarrassing) the eyebrows.
Yes, the eyebrows fascinated me to no end; though I’d not heard of the amazing Frida Kahlo, the notion that Salma Hayek would paste a carpet to her forehead intrigued me. As it turns out, it is so much more than the eyebrows. Pardon the humungous understatement.
Salma Hayek proved, to me at least, that this woman is much deeper, darker than her celebrity face, that she is capable of pulling out the demons within and making them dance for our entertainment with an ease that is both disturbing and disarming. And with Frida, Salma Hayek shows the world that she’s a chick to be reckoned with. She’s no ball of exotic fluff, rather she’s an intense, passionate, crazy-smart individual who has the shiny brass not to allow the box of generic Hollywood sex goddess be closed up around her.
She takes risks and does so with a relish not seen since...well, forever. Sure, actors like Charlize Theron (who I adore) display some mighty chops when given the chance (few and far between, unfortunately -- Hollywood likes to keep its pretty young things nice and unthreatening, male-friendly, if you will), but Salma Hayek, particularly in Frida, blows a big hole in the theory that women can’t be dominating, visceral geniuses who also happen to be the ultimate male fantasy.
Put Pamela Anderson side by side with Salma Hayek, and I guarantee that any man with at least five working brain cells would immediately drop to his knees before Salma. She deserves to be worshipped, not for her preternatural outer beauty, but for what burns within her. To put it simply, her performance in Frida is outstanding, unusual, gut-wrenching and inspirational. She peels back the feminine mystique with grace and spectacular aplomb, yet stirs it all up with down and dirty stark realism, with raw sexuality and blinding presence. She brought Frida to life, made her familiar, as if I’d always known of this great artist, and by its conclusion, Frida Kahlo became my hero.
Could another actor have pulled this off? Maybe, but I doubt it.
It was well after midnight when the film ended, yet I couldn’t help but go online and look up everything Frida. I devoured thumbnails of her art, stories about her remarkable life, until two a.m.. I had to stop myself from staying up the rest of the night.
Ms. Hayek’s got herself a brand new admirer, and because of her, so does Frida Kahlo.