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“Illuminating . . . part astute analysis of our relationship to the film image and our cultural fixation on celebrity and part insightful film criticism . . . [a] starry-eyed love letter.”
—Tara Ison, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Thomson is probably the single most gifted film writer alive . . . an extraordinarily knowing meditation on movies as purveyors of dreams and desires”
—Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
“Rewrites the celebrity biography into a savvy exploration of myth-making . . . Dangerously smart, Thomson never lectures. He throws little gems and thought-provoking insights in the midst of the liveliest conversation. A passionate storyteller, he peppers his analyses with sassy anecdotes . . . and biting remarks on politics, celebrity culture and their commodification of human dramas. Bold, provocative, irrepressibly funny . . . will delight those who enjoy a book that has guts and brains.”
—Cécile Alduy, San Francisco Chronicle
“Film critic David Thomson has a crush on Kidman and he doesn’t care who knows . . . a shrewd book about the nature of screen acting, fantasy and stardom.”
Posted February 2, 2009
It's always difficult to write a current bio of a famous personality as there seems to be breaking news on an almost daily basis. Case in point - the arresting bio of Nicole Kidman by David Thomson. The world recently learned that the mega star and husband Keith Urban are expecting their first child. That may be the only detail overlooked in this in depth study, and that omission was only due to time constraints. Thomson who has taught film studies at Dartmouth College and is on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival is an astute observer of cinema and all its ramifications. Thus, he brings an added dimension to this particular book in which he explores the influence of film on the observers, saying '....acting and being at the movies are mirror images.' So, while his book is most definitely about acting and Nicole Kidman, it is also about 'what happens to anyone beholding an actress.' Before launching into a description of Kidman's life and films, the author describes how he sees the actress today. Noting that there are thousands upon thousands of hits on the mouse every day from those who want to know more about Kidman, he says that she has lived up to the celebrity demand of being on public display whether she is posing for upscale perfume ads, sitting for countless glossy covers, or dropping ' her clothes if only to air out that elegant Australian body.' In later years he envisions her as being rather like Katharine Hepburn, a proud older woman, a mistress of her craft. Meanwhile, Kidman is in her prime and Thomson takes an expansive look at her films to date beginning with a TV movie for children in 1983 to Birth, The Stepford Wives and The Interpreter, which he calls 'three duds in a row' - a fate to be avoided at all costs. Nonetheless, she prevails. Thomson's book is both intriguing and a scholarly analysis - it is always fascinating. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke
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Posted October 7, 2006
This is one of the most verbose books written. This book is not really a biography about Nicole Kidman, but a synopsis and discussion about her previous films. I ended up skimming the book rather than reading it because it was so wordy. I think the other biographies about NK are much more the typical biography or 'life of' that one expects.
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