Nicole Kidman acted around a prosthetic proboscis to win an Oscar for her impersonation of Virginia Woolf in The Hours; as celebrated photographer Diane Arbus, she's all eyes. Everybody that Arbus photographed became a freak -- that was the source of her particular genius. But Fur has little interest in making the normal seem freakish; unlike Arbus, the movie benignly does the opposite. Physically, the fair-skinned and willowy Kidman is an unlikely choice to play the dark, diminutive Arbus. But the actress is far from the only curiosity in director Steven Shainberg's cabinet -- a misguided tribute to the woman his film identifies among "the greatest artists of the 20th century." Hardly a straight biopic, Fur invents all manner of characters and situations to explicate the three-month period in 1958 when Arbus ceased to be her husband Allan's studio assistant and became a photographer in her own right. You won't learn much about Arbus here, aside from the correct pronunciation of her first name; you will get to see Kidman try (and fail) to find her inner freak.
Director: Steven Shainberg
Writer: Patricia Bosworth and Erin Cressida Wilson
Producer: Laura Bickford, Patricia Bosworth, Andrew Fierberg and William Pohlad
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey Jr., Ty Burrell, Harris Yulin, Jane Alexander, Emmy Clarke, Genevieve McCarthy, Boris McGiver, Marceline Hugot and Emily Bergl
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus