Search form

Scroll To Top

Can We Talk About Nicole Effing Kidman?

Can We Talk About Nicole Effing Kidman?

nikki kids

After a spectacular turn in Big Little Lies, Nikki Kids returns to her rightful place among the greatest actresses of her—or any—generation. 

Have you ever seen To Die For?

Gus Van Sant's fifth film--after such queer classics as Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues--centers on an ambitious and unscrupulous weathergirl determined to be the next Diane Sawyer. It was the first time I fell in love with Nicole Kidman.

For years, I had only known her as Tom Cruise's beard wife, and then after their divorce, she blossomed into not only a Serious Actress, but a bona fide movie star. Of course I loved her in Moulin Rouge!, and though I gently disagree with her Oscar for The Hours, it's a performance that has always stayed with me. The nose aside, it's her mannerisms, the way she stops to think and write, the seething intensity just beneath the surface, the desperation with which she shouts "I"m dying in this town!" that resonates always.

the hours nicole kidman gif

But as Suzanne Stone, she's simply incredible. Some regard it as her best performance and I'm inclined to agree. She imbues the character with all the cold calculation of a highly skilled surgeon operating on a body. The intensity--a key word when it comes to discussing Kidman--of her blank stare to the camera as she delivers breathless monologue after breathless monologue, is haunting. And hilarious. Because, at the end of the day, it's a comedic performance. A dark, brilliant comedic performance.

From the moment she introduces herself, you know this woman is unhinged but also, so tightly wound she could break at any second. Suzanne could easily be another movie of the week villainess scheming and manipulating men to get what she wants--as so many female characters were in the mid-90s--but Kidman turns her into a sheer force of nature, able to turn coal into diamonds with the pressure of her charm and gaze.


And so I'm thankful for Big Little Lies. For alerting the world to what I've always known: Nicole Kidman will act the goddamn house down.

alexis carrington dynasty

Actually, thankful doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about HBO's latest prestige miniseries. First of all, the entire cast is superb--Reese Witherspoon has been getting a lot of attention, and rightfully so, but let's also give it up for Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz and national treasure Laura Dern. But Kidman is pretty next level.

aretha franklin george michael

Kidman has endured abuse on-screen for the sake of her craft before--most notably, and cringeworthy, in Lars von Trier's Dogville. It's three hours of Nicole Kidman getting physically, sexually, and emotionally assaulted, culminating in the final cathartic scene when she takes her revenge. It's an unconventional movie--set on an almost blank stage--and a brutal role few other actresses would dare consider. But, as an actress, Kidman has always been willing to run full-speed into a burning building, that is to say, she's fearless. Absolutely fearless.

nicole kidman big little lies gif

Big Little Lies may have been the first time some people saw that fearlessness. Kidman is also not about accessible films, which is why the movie star mantle never fit her quite right. Most people haven't seen Birth, or Fur, or Rabbit Hole--films that are difficult, challenging, and hard to define--much like the actress herself. As Celeste in Big Little Lies, Nicole Kidman as force of nature was unleashed upon the masses.

Related | 5 Things With Hilton Dresden: Arthritis, Russia & Big Little Lies

Which is why I am hardly alone in singing her praises, though I've been giving that song heavy rotation for years. Even when her career took a noticeable dive with a series of high-profile flops, I still considered those movies worth seeing for her alone.

Take The Stepford Wives, which is terrible. It's an overblown waste of talent that could have and should have been great as a satire on gender roles at the dawn of the 21st century, but it shot for the moon and missed the mark completely. But Kidman, as always, fully commits. As Ann Hornaday at the Chicago Tribuneobserves: "...even in her worst movies, Kidman is never the problem; her performances rise above whatever dreck they're in, as if her supreme self-possession as a performer inoculated her against the toxic material she was working with."

A prime example of that is The Paperboy, Lee Daniels's deeply flawed Southern Gothic camp masterpiece, which featured--among many crazy things I don't have the time to get into--Matthew McCounaghey getting gangbanged, Kidman peeing on Zac Efron and making John Cusack climax from clear across a room.

ab fab patsy stone trans

It's one of my favorite performances of hers, and one that, had the movie been better received--or just better--would have clinched her a second Oscar, or at the very least, a nomination. She once again defies expectations, using her enviable physical gifts to disarm and transcend her character's role as seductress into something far more complicated and interesting. Because, though she looks like Brigitte Bardot, not very deep down inside Nicole Kidman's always been Bette Davis. A fearless force of nature, an intensely passionate artist willing to suffer for her art, who disappears into her roles, and is one of the greatest actors to ever grace (of Monaco)* the silver screen.

an american in paris gif

*Sorry, I had to do it.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Les Fabian Brathwaite