Film Scouts and Newsweek at Sundance 1999

"Hideous Kinky"

by Andréa C. Basora

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In an unexpected career move, Kate Winslet's first choice after the success of "Titanic" is a lighter-than-air independent feature set in Morocco. "Hideous Kinky," based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Esther Freud (great granddaughter of you-know-who), is charmingly directed by Scotsman Gillies MacKinnon. Julia (Winslet) travels to Morocco with her two young daughters in order to escape a failed relationship and the dullness of everyday life in London. The time is the late sixties and Northern Africa is full of people who, like Julia, are in search of adventure and meaning in their lives. While she finds the freedom and romance she craves, it comes at too high a cost. Winslet is radiant as well as credible in her role, and the two little girls (Bella Riza and Carrie Mullan) are absolute charmers. MacKinnon relies a little too much on music and local color at the expense of a more complex and interesting script. But with such wonderful music and spectacular local color, who wouldn't be tempted to overindulge?

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