Directed by: Gillies MacKinnon

Written by: Billy MacKinnon

Starring: Kate Winslet, Saïd Taghmaoui, Bella Riza, Carrie Mullan, Pierre Clémenti

Rating: [3/5]

Living in a different place than you’re used to provides an opportunity for a fresh start. The burdens and relationships previously established no longer mean anything as you can begin again with a different group of people. Something that sounds good in theory but much more difficult to accomplish, especially when having to care for others as seen in Hideous Kinky. The tale of a mother trying to take care of herself and her children with the needs competing with each other. 

Tired of living in England, Julia (Kate Winslet) takes herself and her children to live in Morocco for a different experience. Living off of selling sewn dolls, they face their struggles but meet a dashing man named Bilal (Saïd Taghmaoui) who provides them the opportunity for some more stability in this new place they call home. 

The intentions driving Hideous Kinky forward as a narrative appear to be good as it just shows a mother trying to do what is best as well as for her children but the struggles she faces prove to be too much. While living off a shabby business and support from her children’s father back in London, she wishes to give them a different type of experience where they appreciate life more than the way she was raised. She found herself disillusioned on several occasions throughout life and needed this restart badly. However, it comes at quite a cost.

At the center of the conflict here in the narrative comes from Julia trying to do something good for her and how it impacts her children as a result. Adults can easily just pick up their lives and go somewhere else if they wish, but having children makes the process much more complex. Back in England, she had the infrastructure to send the kids to a good school and guaranteed amenities. That does not translate when heading to Morocco. It becomes a matter of maturity and it leaves quite the mark in the story where one of her daughters has to preach to Julia about the importance of them getting an education. A battle of desire versus responsibility.

This particular struggle makes sense because every parent must take this on. Having children means you will be putting aside and investing money for them instead of doing it for yourself. Having kids can be a drain in that sense, but it comes as part of the deal of bringing the child into the world. At times, other characters in the feature question Julia’s mothering acumen, which she bites back with venom. Even with her mishaps, the film makes it clear how much she loves her children, which always leaves us on her side. Her mistakes come as a natural part of life but this drastic change in life certainly comes with its consequences. 

At a tonal level, this film remains quite light with the two daughters receiving plenty of time on screen. We get to interchange between how Julia sees the world and then her children. The flip back and forth tends to happen very quickly even to the point where Julia is engaging in sexual activity only to be interrupted by the high energy of her children. With all of the serious routes this film could have taken, it decides to remain upbeat because being in Morocco serves as an adventure for these characters. Whether or not it’s right to use a foreign country and its people for the experience can be another matter discussed but for the purposes of this story, it certainly works in not exploiting the surroundings. 

The main draw for this feature is Kate Winslet and she does plenty to make a captivating character in this feature. She balances this level of innocence to her in discovering this new place while also being mature enough to recognize what’s expected of her. Quite the role for her to take on and I’m glad she did as it further demonstrates her strengths as an actor in having to carry an entire feature. With it releasing shortly after her famous role in Titanic helped raise the profile of this project and while it varies greatly in scale, she brings a beautiful level of humanity to the role. 

Becoming a parent comes with a whole host of responsibilities one must consider when making big life decisions. In this film, Julia feels the weight of it all as she manages to do what might be best for her own well-being. The push and pull define this movie and through Winslet’s performance and the overall tone, it maintains a wondrous feeling carrying it through all the way to its rightful conclusion. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: