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Hidden Gems: Nicole Kidman

July just sort of ran by without me realising! I’ve been watching a lot of movies this month but didn’t realise the days going by so I have to admit, my Hidden Gems post is a little last minute this time around. If you aren’t familiar with Hidden Gems, it’s a challenge created by Mettel Ray, where you pick an actor or actress for each month of the year, pick 3 movies of theirs you haven’t seen yet and give them a watch in the hopes of finding a gem. I think Mettel Ray is taking a break from the challenge this month but here I am with a post dedicated to Nicole Kidman.

Why Nicole Kidman?

She was a bit of a wild card choice for the challenge to be honest. I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve seen her in, but mostly her recent TV work, Big Little Lies and The Undoing. I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming Nine Perfect Strangers, too. She seems to star in a lot of thrillers and it’s one of my favourite genres, so I was keen to explore some of her older work.

Statistics

Letterboxd has an eye-watering 106 projects listed under Nicole Kidman, I took out 41 (a lot of shorts, TV movies, short movies and mini series’), leaving 65. Of those 65 movies I’d already seen 11, and funnily enough, one of those was watched for another Hidden Gems month! Some of my favourites include Paddington, Lion and The Others.

I’ve also seen The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Aquaman, Bombshell, Panic Room, Happy Feet, Prom, The Upside and Before I Go to Sleep.

It was so tough to choose just 3 movies from the ocean of ones I’m yet to see, but in the end I went with Eyes Wide Shut (1999), To Die For (1995) and Rabbit Hole (2010).

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Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

I try not to read too much into the movies I’m picking but when I’m so lost for where to start I do try to pick some that are widely well reviewed. Eyes Wide Shut seemed to be one of Nicole Kidman’s most well regarded movies so I hoped I was on to a good start. She stars along side Tom Cruise in a dark, erotic thriller directed by Stanley Kubrick and I tried my very best to look past the 159 minute runtime.

Eyes Wide Shut is going to join some other classic movies in the category I like to call ‘Artsy, Classic Movies Everyone Loves but I Find Totally Overrated’. I’m really sorry – I couldn’t get into this at all. I get that there’s a deeper meaning behind everything that happens but a movie two and a half hours long, I could explain the plot to you in about 30 seconds. I can appreciate the acting, the directing and the cinematography for what it is, but it’s not a movie I enjoyed at all.

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To Die For (1995)

This was very, very close to being a gem for me, I enjoyed it a lot. Nicole Kidman plays a woman wanting to be a world-famous news anchor and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. What she lacks in intelligence she makes up for in determination and sheer will. When her husband is found dead, she’s the main suspect, and the movie swaps back and forth between showing us the events leading up to her husband’s death and interviews with the people who knew her.

Nicole Kidman’s character is absolutely fascinating but there’s just something about the way the story is told that holds it back from being a truly great movie. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it immensely, but I can’t give out the prize of Hidden Gem to anything less than great. I wish more of the events had been told from her point of view so we could get a better understanding of her mind.

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Rabbit Hole (2010)

Why do I find myself attracted to such depressing movies?! They’re like a magnet to me. In Rabbit Hole, Nicole Kidman stars alongside Aaron Eckhart as parents who have recently lost their son after he was killed in a car accident. It’s a raw and painful exploration as to how people handle grief, and how they move on after such a tragic event. It’s less a movie that you enjoy and more a dive into the spectrum of human emotion.

So, another great movie. But man, it’s just too much of a downer to call a gem. The definition will be different for everyone but for me, a hidden gem has to be both technically great and enjoyable to watch. Technically, Rabbit Hole is superb but I couldn’t say it was a movie I enjoyed.

Final Thoughts

No gem this month, but two great movies out of three, so I’m not disappointed at all. I’ve learnt that there’s still so many more Nicole Kidman movies out there, I was just unlucky with my choices. I’d love to know what your favourite Nicole Kidman movies are? August is a month I’m really looking forward to – it’s Jake Gyllenhaal month!

Movie Reviews

Blind Spot Series: The Matrix (1999)

the-matrix-1999-blind-spot-movie-reviewDirector: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 136 Minutes

Main Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory

Plot: Set in the future, Neo learns about the true nature of his reality and his role in fighting the war against its controllers.

My Thoughts: This month’s Blind Spot pick couldn’t have been more perfect, I’m about to see John Wick: Chapter 3 again because I loved it so much and I can feel a Keanu Reeves obsession coming on. The Matrix has been the movie so many friends and family mention to me and they can’t believe I’ve never seen it. Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t either but it’s so famous I guess I thought I knew all about it and there wasn’t any point. Neo’s the one, everyone can run up walls, none of us are real, etc, etc. I was only partly right, I guess.

So us humans are real, but the world we know and live in is actually just a simulation, that’s the gist. It’s an absolutely crazy idea, and I spent a lot of the movie questioning things and expecting to find gaping plot holes, but it’s absolutely solid, which shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did because there’s obviously a reason The Matrix is such a widely-loved movie.

The action and fight scenes are really cool, and I bet they were exhilarating in 1999 but they don’t shine as much 20 years later. That said, I’m comparing it to John Wick’s fight scenes which were a step above all other action movies anyway! I mean let’s face it, from a technical point of view, no Sci-Fi movie 20 years old is going to stand up as well in the current year, but it doesn’t distract from the story at all.

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I honestly enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would, and now I’m curious – what are the other movies like? From what I hear they aren’t good but I don’t care about ‘critic’ opinions, I trust you guys. My husband says his biggest unpopular opinion is that the third movie is his favourite of the franchise!

Best Bit: GUNS. LOTS OF GUNS. I knew it was coming, but it was so funny when it actually happened. Apologies to everyone else seeing John Wick: Chapter 3 tonight because I might just scream ‘YEEEEAAAAAAAH’ when that moment happens again.

Worst Bit: I know it’s unfair but it’s like I said, it hasn’t aged well. Although I do miss those flip phones. When you were having an argument on the phone it was so satisfying to snap the phone shut to hang up, and you don’t get the same effect with these touch screens…

Fun Trivia: After the lobby shoot-out, the camera pans back, showing the aftermath of the gunfight in the lobby. During this, a piece of one of the pillars falls off. This happened by coincidence during the filming, and was not planned, but was left, since it seemed appropriate.

My Rating: 4 red pills, although I personally might have taken the blue pill and lived in ignorant bliss!

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blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.