Reactions to the Movie Frida

This summer I watched the movie Frida, written by and starring Salma Hayek. The film represents a biography of her life from her teenage years to her death, encompassing everything from the bus accident that crippled her to the beginning of her art career to her troubled relationship with Diego Rivera. I was interested in watching the movie because it was fairly popular in the United States when it first came out, and I was curious to see how such a widely viewed piece of media was conveying the complicated figure that was Frida Kahlo to an American audience, one that may not necessarily have a lot of background info on the artist or the politics and culture of her time. 

Overall, I thought the movie presented a remarkably balanced representation of Kahlo’s character. While it certainly did not focus on her politics, it also did not leave out the prevalence of politics in her personal musings and in her circle of friends, and very clearly painted her as a supporter of the Communist Party. Furthermore, while I am not an expert in cinematography, even I was stunned by the creativity and style that existed throughout the movie. The use of Kahlo’s own paintings as a means to introduce different stages of her life forces the viewer to think of her art through her perspective, as opposed to the viewer’s; it is arguable that this, in some ways, conveys the cultural context of Kahlo’s works more vividly than a museum exhibition could. The film makes it nearly impossible to separate the art from the post-revolutionary Mexico in which she made them. 

Furthermore, the fact that the film is mostly in English makes it very accessible to English-speaking Americans, while still making it crystal clear that Kahlo’s opinions of the States were very negative. I felt that this does a brilliant job of educating Americans about Frida Kahlo and allowing everyone to find joy in her eccentric character without removing her from her own culture.