The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival kicked off with a bang on Wednesday, or was that a sudden, loud crack followed by the distinct whiff of a stink bomb? The festival opened with the universally derided Grace of Monaco, and the opening lines of the Guardian’s review say it all.
It’s traditional for Cannes to start with something spectacular. This is certainly no exception. It is a film so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk.
It had critics laughing in the aisles at screenings, and no, it’s not a comedy. The project has, however, been tinged with unintentional hilarity since some genius decided that 45 year old Nicole Kidman, and her frozen face, should play a 33 year old Grace Kelly, at a point in her life when she was consumed by personal and political strife and therefore, presumably, made the odd facial expression from time to time. If you’re going to require your lead actress to emote, surely you need to hire one that can move her facial muscles and doesn’t have to convey all of her emotional responses via a series of breathy gasps and whimpers. This, of necessity, has become Nicole’s acting technique since she voluntarily immobilised her own face, and it’s years since I’ve been able to watch her anything. You can only wonder at what point this self-inflicted limited range will make her categorically unemployable, unless they’re casting a mother for Lindsay Lohan’s character in a future Lifetime Movie of the Week.
It must be awkward to have to turn up at an event like this and wave and smile and pretend to be proud of a film that is being described as “a 104-minute Chanel ad, only without the subtlety and depth.” But turn up she did, and wave she did, and as for the smiling? Well, she gave it her best shot but the results were… uneven, to put it mildly. Simply put, Nicole Kidman’s face is fucked. It’s been borderline fucked for several years, but she has now crossed a line where “the work” is making her look OLDER than her actual age. Which is 46, in case you couldn’t tell.
Part of me is reluctant to even comment on this, because it annoys me that women’s ages have to be a talking point at all, but at the same time, I would argue that when you’re doing this to your face, you’re the one making your age a taking point. In fact, this was the subject of some debate recently, when Kim Novak wrote an open letter to the world accusing people of having “bullied her” after her much commented upon appearance at the Oscars. Now, I can appreciate that when the whole world has a soapbox and they use it to express horror at your appearance, that must feel pretty awful, but expressing a negative view point is not, in and of itself, “bullying”, a word that’s getting bandied about far too much these days. And with these faces you’re not criticising the person’s actual face, you’re criticising what they’ve done to their face, and in a sense commenting on a bigger issue that they’ve made themselves part of, which is the increasingly disturbing lengths women are now going to to preserve an illusion of youth – sacrificing their looks and their individuality for these generic looking, bloated, freakishly smooth faces.
I was horrified when I saw Novak at the Oscars, but mostly I just felt sad that she felt the need to do that and that women in the entertainment industry are damned if they do and damned if they don’t fight the effects of ageing. Ms. Novak’s defense, “In my opinion, a person has a right to look as good as they can, and I feel better when I look better,” was just as perplexing as her face, because the simple fact is she does not look better, she looks grotesque. And part of the problem must be the skewed perspective that comes into play when 50% of the people around you look as messed up as you do, but I do not understand how a puffy, distorted face is preferable to the actual effects of ageing.
Which brings me back to Nicole, who is either really insecure about her looks or completely delusional if she thinks that what she’s done to her face is better than looking her 46 years, because if you look at the photos from this week, not only does she not look young, not only does she not look like herself, but her left eye is now drooping and hanging significantly lower than her right. So this is where she’s at in her fight against the aging process… she has given herself the side-effects of a stroke, and this is SOMEHOW PREFERABLE to looking her age, which again, is ONLY 46. And her refusal to own up to the work she’s had only adds to the disappointment I feel that this is the message she’s sending, that it’s better for a woman over 40 to look like a stroke victim than to look like a woman over 40.
And if you don’t already pity her for that mindset, I would like you watch to watch the first 20 seconds of this video, and experience the toe-curling embarrassment of seeing Nicole Kidman, 46 years old and a mother of two, bust out the signature pose of six year old girls everywhere without a hint of embarrassment for herself.
Thankfully she was not wearing a ribbon in her hair on that occasion, because I might have thrown my laptop against the wall just to get the hell away from that much creepy. Can you imagine Cate Blanchett twirling her hair into her mouth on a red carpet? Or blowing kisses? It’s the ridiculous, coquettish behaviour of a woman who, in her own mind, is zero steps removed from a teenage Brigitte Bardot and, in combination with the desperation so evident in her face, it makes her seem pathetic. And it makes me feel sad for her, but also a little grateful. Because if I ever feel tempted to try to stave off the advances of Father Time and Mother Nature by stabbing at them with syringes full of injectable poisons, I will look at these photos and think “NO!” If even Nicole Kidman, with all her money and access to the very best doctors, can end up with a face this wrecked, what hope do the rest of us have?
More of Nicole at Cannes below, wearing white Altazurra at the photocall and a blue Armani at the premiere that she should have saved for the Country Music Awards.
It takes time and a lot of concentration to work those muscles into a smile…
Nearly there. Distract them with a girlish giggle...
Decoy move! She blows ’em a kiss instead…
On second thoughts, using your face is exhausting. Just stand there.
Glamming it up for the premiere. I’m not sure this was the was the effect Mr. Armani was going for.
But you know what they say. You can take the girl out of Nashville…
If you can’t feel that your face is smiling, play it safe and give a thumbs up.
Nicole is so sick of having to talk about her ex husband wherever she goes. Yay high, dark hair, toothy grin…
Film historians will speak of the exact moment Nicole Kidman kissed her career goodbye.
Confronted with a face from her past, Nicole looks unimpressed. Or bored? Or maybe cross…
How did SHE get in here?
Laugh it up, assholes you have to sit through Grace of Monaco now!
After the movie they revealed Nicole’s newest waxwork.
“Why do you keep winking at me?” asked Tim Roth
“LOL! OMG I’m not winking, I’ve paralyzed my own face!” she replied.
*Insert Stepford joke here.