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Hideous Kinky Poster

Hideous Kinky (1998)

Adventure | Romance   
IMDB Rayting:   6.1/10
Country: UK | France
Language: English | French

Hideous Kinky is the story of two sisters (seven and five years old) traveling with their hippie mother from London to Morocco. They encounter many adventures, new experiences, and ... See full summary »

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SaintNo1 15 February 1999

Kate Winslet and her young co-stars are charming in this film. The children have some priceless scenes which are faultlessly acted and leave you wishing that you could encounter such vibrant children in real life instead of the ones prone to throwing tantrums in crowded shopping malls.

The story drifts all over the place - more of a string of events meandering along in search of a purpose, much like Winslet's character. The scenery is stunning, the colours of Morrocco vibrant and the glimpse into another culture is well executed. A fine film to watch if you want visual stimulation, but don't wish to concentrate on a complex story.

gbheron 23 February 2002

A young English mother, Julia (Kate Winslet), packs up her two daughters, aged 5 and 7, moves to Morocco and embarks on a voyage of self discovery. Set in 1972, the film catches up with Julia and kids nine months into their trip. We're never told why she left London, but her artist-husband back home has just stopped providing the rent checks. This is putting a crimp in the self-awareness game. In the process of surviving and searching for Sufic fulfillment, Julia must also deal with her children's growing disenchantment with life in Morocco, and their desire to return to a stable, normal (and English) childhood. Family friction increases when she takes a young Moroccan lover, and a group of wealthy English ex-pats start second guessing Julia's childrearing abilities.

There is no big story here, no buildup of drama, and no real endgame. "Hideous Kinky" is a study of the family dynamics amongst this odd troupe. The acting is very good, especially the two children, and the on-location filming in Morocco is a treat. This film is definitely not for everyone, but if you are in to this type of movie, you should enjoy it. The single word that I would use to describe "Hideous Kinky" is 'honest'.

makrygialos 7 January 2001

This film has all the qualities of an exquisite poem: the rhythm of feeling, the power of understated experience, the slender and subtle plot. Some elements of this story--the existential search for identity, the lack of obvious momentum, the subjective encounter with alternative civilisations etc.--are very much out of fashion at the moment, as is evident from several reviews. Poetry may be out of fashion for similar reasons, but probably not forever. I admire this film as a gesture of art, one that enriches the viewer without spelling out a heavy-handed individualistic message. I hope we will see more movies like this one.

Linda-21 21 April 1999

This is the story of a Julia, young Englishwoman who travels to Morocco in 1972 with her two young daughters in search of enlightenment. Kate Winslet, of Titanic fame, plays the lead, and evokes the experience of the early 70s, with its innocent hippie culture. The two young daughters, 6 and 8, are delightful and seem much wiser than their mother, who loves them dearly but is somewhat overwhelmed by the world around her.

Perhaps it was the sound system, but my American ears missed some of the British dialog and I wished I was watching it on videotape so that I could rewind and hear some of it again. Also, some of the editing seemed disjointed, and episodic rather than a smooth flow. However, I loved the cinematography, the setting, the realistic portrayal of Morocco. Casting was more than excellent, especially the two young actresses who played the daughters. Much of the story is told from the children's point of view, which added dimension and insight.

There's a romance between Julia and a charismatic street acrobat, played by a hunk of an actor named Said Taghaoui, who also works at a quarry doing hard physical labor. We get a serious glimpse into his character and his world. One great thing about the film is that the story moves along with twists and turns and, at the same, time, there are culture clashes and explorations of responsibility, escapism and common sense. Always, there is a sense of tension and a constant concern for the children.

The movie portrays a time and place and mindset that has a sense of authenticity. I give it one of my highest recommendations.

PaulineDorchester 22 April 1999

This is a really fascinating film, extremely well-acted (the two little girls are especially good), whose only flaw is an ending that is a bit too neat. The soundtrack is wonderful: traditional Moroccan music mixed with some very well-chosen popular songs of the period. Using "White Rabbit" to accompany Julia's frantic search for her missing daughter is a particularly good choice.

"Hideous Kinky" serves as a reminder of something that seems shocking now -- just 30 years ago, a whole class of educated Western women sought enlightenment, and even liberation, in Islam. One wonders: what became of these women? Did they remain in Islam? Have they survived the rising tide of fundamentalism? And what of their children? What is their cultural legacy? What burdens do they bear?

jennifer-99 15 November 2000

It has been quite a while since I saw this film (I viewed it in the theatres when it opened), but I read some of the negative user comments and decided to throw in my 2 cents.

I remember not having a clue what to expect as I walked into the theatre as I had heard nothing of the film and was accompanying a friend who wanted to see it.

I also remember being touched by the performances of all involved, especially Ms. Winslet and her lovely on-screen children. The scenery was beautiful and the story was a poignant journey into the life of a young family uprooted from their London home to travel to the Moroccan countryside. As the final scene ended and the credits began I remember sighing with enjoyment and satisfaction at an hour and a half of viewing pleasure.

While the movie will not appeal to everyone, I must say that it is nice to sit and watch a simple film that is not bursting with gore, nudity and profanity for a change.

A surprise treat!

huh_oh_i_c 9 April 2004

This is simply a beautiful film, breathtakingly shot, with wonderful acting especially so by Carrie Mullan. Of the two girls who play the daughters of Kate Winslet, she rightly so has the (even if only slightly so) bigger acting part. Refreshingly free of a rigorous story line, you can just enjoy the atmosphere and exquisite photography. And, of course the actors. Winslet is her usual self, solid acting, and she's apparently not afraid to show herself in a less than perfect physical appearance, against the Standard-Issued-Hollywood-Bodies culture. A leeettle chubby, she's the perfect reflection of Greek sculpture. Mullan's mimic is very grown-up, Riza is good, though at times her inexperience shines through and Taghmaoui is quite sympathetic. The nudity in this film should not be considered daring in this day and age, and is thus true to the film's era. The makers obviously thought something like: 'Shove it, if this arouses or excites you, there's something very wrong with you' and i salute them for it.

8/10 The Melancholic Alcoholic.

atrain224 5 March 2003

"Hideous Kinky" is not a plot-driven movie but more of a meditation on time and place. And I can live with that. The photography is so rich with colors and beautiful locales, I want to visit Morrocco. The acting in splendid across the board with particular note to the two young girls who were handed quite a bit of duty with the roles. Where this movie failed me is in the character played by Kate Winslet. She behaves with such selfishness and stupidity--not once--but over and over again, that I really grew to dislike her. Sure...she may be a young, naive, adventurous, hippie in the early '70's, but a I refuse to believe she didn't realize what kind of danger she was putting her children in. "Hideous Kinky" is a good movie--not great. And it's good for one viewing, maybe two for the cinematography.

Afzal-s2007 5 October 2007

Hideous Kinky is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Esther Freud (descended from a certain Swiss Psychiatrist). The film, set in the 1960's, follows Julia, a young English mother with her small children, Bea and Lucy, recently divorced from her creative, and philandering, husband. She is in Morocco, like many young Europeans inspired by the counter-culture philosophy of the time, to explore herself with respect to its eastern philosophy and culture.

It would be so easy for a film with such a subject to fall into the trap of using the 'orient' as merely a backdrop to depict fun backpackers engaging in pseudo-spiritual experiments. Or, on the other hand, take a more malevolent track of exploiting the bad feeling between Europeans and Arabs by having the bright young Julia encounter the traditional savage, woman-hating Arab as depicted in most western films, and pioneered by Valentino in Hollywood's silent classic The Sheik (1921).

However Hideous Kinky is refreshing as it is fun and 'exotic', but does not compromise in its sense of responsibility. It attempts to show an intelligent, though wayward, young mother with the genuine desire to explore her self internally, and captures the richness and humanity of the country and its people around her, exhibiting their interesting religious life and culture.

The feel of place in the film is astonishing. Marrakech, with the narrow streets and courtyards of its old town, dark and forbidding, but also revealing wonder, and the surrounding desert, are filmed deliciously with ambition and assurance. Julia, as well as being part of the 'drop out' European expat community, finds herself accessing different strands of Moroccan society, the common society of Morocco via her relationship with Bilal, a shady character who turns out to be a convict, played wonderfully by Said Taghmaoui, and the higher rungs via her ex-husband's friend, Santoni.

Central to the film- and what also complicates it, giving it an added, new dimension- is Julia's relationship with her two children, played astoundingly well by Bella Riza and Carrie Mullan. They, in turn, have their own incredible experiences, good and bad, as shown by their delightful but confused sayings. Julia, unusually in film, is a complex female character with many shades. She is naïve, foolish and irresponsible. At one point, she even manages to lose one of her daughters. But she is also smart, soulful and canny, and from her time in Morrocco, Julia does gain an insight into her self, but it is not the insight that she expected, and perhaps it is a genuine insight for that reason. She is played by Kate Winslet with characteristic heart and intelligence, and a brave choice as she had just come off the safety of the glitzy but vacuous blockbuster, Titanic.

Hideous Kinky is a rare thing- despite being government financed, usually the kiss of death for a British film, it is a refreshing and responsible film about an unconventional encounter between European and Arab.

bob the moo 11 January 2002

The story of two young girls and their mother who leave London to live in Morocco to allow their mother, Julia, to discover herself. Once there they find many things ranging from love, happiness to poverty and loss against the backdrop of Morocco.

This is an interesting film that I must admit I did have high hopes for. All I heard about this was good with critics praising it pretty roundly. The story itself is pretty thin. It is not exactly linear as it focuses on experiences rather than a straight series of happenings. The effect of this to me was to make the film feel rambling and that it wasn't going anywhere - it certainly felt longer than it's 90 minute run time. The "adventures", for want of a better word, are very interesting and sometimes moving but they do give the impression that the film wants to give the audience a feeling or an experience rather than a story.

Visually the film is beautiful and Morocco is well shot - both breathtaking landscapes and realistic scenes of poverty, but this doesn't make up for the lack of story. Some people may feel that the scenery is enough to watch the film for but not me. The acting is also faultless - Riza and Mullan are excellent as Bea and Lucy, while Winslet is also strong as Julia. The main problem with the story is that it is quite focused on Julia and she is such a selfish, unpleasant character at times that it makes it hard to stay with her all the time. I didn't feel that I could learn anything from her travels and at times I was just amazed that such a spoilt Westerner would just act in such a way as to hurt her daughters either directly or indirectly. The daughters were great characters and were worthy of all the interest and sympathy that the script gives them. But Winslet's character is a major turn-off.

Overall it looks great with great performances. But the lack of a coherent story or message is a bit frustrating and can make it feel a bit aimless.

roger_hart01 10 September 2001

This movie addresses the search for spiritual meaning that propelled thousands of western hippies to North Africa and India in the late sixties and early seventies. Although the brain-dead hippie stereotypes are there, often with comedic effect, the narration follows Julie, a single mother played aptly by Kate Winslet, and her two young daughters on a quest for transcendental knowledge around Marrakech Morocco and the nearby villages. Although this is not Winslet's strongest performance (see Hamlet or Quills)her craftsmanship is superb in conveying the emotional turmoil that follows the trail of her character. Is Julie merely escaping from the drudgery of a cold water flat and a fourteen hour workday day in South London or is she on a serious path to spiritual awakening? Is she exposing her children to undue danger in a strange land or is she leading them on the adventure of a lifetime? Has she found the love of her life and a surrogate father for her daughers or has she thrust them into the hands of a polygamist bandit?

The story does not take the easy way out and answer these questions--we do admire Julie's strength of character in coping with them-- but rather twists on a few epiphanies experienced by her children. Winslet brings out the best in the children actors that play daughters Bea and Kate, and Assiz, a delightful steetwise Morrocan youth. As the movie opens the daughters beg Julie to return to London and to their father, a well known writer and poet who is maintaining a second family and a son in Kensington. Julie meets and starts a love affair with Belal, a Morrocan street performer and acrobat. The daughters beg for his acceptance but doubt his loyalty when, out of desparation and out of money, he takes them to the village of his family. The villagers welcome them warmly and throw flower petals over them but the scene is clouded by the presence of a woman who may be Belal's estranged wife.

Julie returns to Marrakech to find long overdue money has arrived from the father in London. Julie can finally make the pilgramage to the Sufi Sheik, her heart's desire all along, but daughter Bea, tired of turmoil and lack of security , asks to be left behind in Marrakech in the house of well-to-do friends. When Julie meets her Sheik a marvelously acted scene takes place where the Sheik, by asking simple earnest questions in a kindly manner draws out of Julie the realisation that her real purpose is to care for her daughters. Although she no longer fears death herself, she must face the more awesome fear of loosing her children. Julie returns to Marrakech to find Bea abandoned to the streets. A mother's worst nightmare comes true when Bea becomes deathly ill. Only taking Bea home to London can save her but there is no money for the trip.

Julie makes the sacrifice of giving up the spiritual life for the sake of her daughters, but, unexpectedly, it is Belal who makes the sacrifice that opens Bea's heart to Morroco.

The film is edited with a break-neck speed that conveys the exotic and strange experience of the young girls in Morroco. If the movie has a weakness, it is that it did not slow down and linger as the the love between Julie and Belal blossomed. In the end we are left with hope. We hope that in the director's cut unseen footage can be ressurected to give dramatic depth where it is needed. We hope Belal is not caught by the authorities; we hope somehow he and Julie can continue their love relation; and we hope that Bea returns to Morroco and is once again welcomed

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