The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Stilted, stylized and art-directed within an inch of its life, Shainberg's movie (which was written by his Secretary collaborator, Erin Cressida Wilson) manages to be both oppressively literal and fatefully fuzzy at the same time.
Don't be fooled for a second by that subtitle. Fur bills itself as An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, but this thing's got all the imagination of a career bureaucrat slumped in his cubicle awaiting a pension.
The world created by Shainberg never seems strange or real enough to convince us that we're getting the goods on anything. Put another way, this imaginary portrait might have done better had it stuck closer to reality.
[Arbus's] most famous images still have the power to shock, hanging as they do on the walls of the world's museums. Fur, the movie about her, reaches for that same jolt and settles instead for a raised eyebrow.
As a biopic, it is as meretricious as most, but as a myth about love and loss, about otherness and identity, about compassion and revulsion, about fetishism and sex, about art and life, it will likely stay with you for days.
Purists will howl at the liberties Shainberg has taken with the facts, but there's a bravery to Fur, an uncompromising commitment to its narrow focus -- of one woman's creative birth -- that rhymes with Arbus's own artistic courage.
Its nerviness only pays off in a few details and in Nicole Kidman's resourcefulness -- mainly a way of suggesting morbid curiosity as erotic stimulation, though the script manages to find diverse excuses for undressing her.
It only does to the artist what museums have tried to do to her art, putting her in a neat little frame and sticking her on the wall, another exhibit in the sideshow. And it still leaves us, safe and separate, stranded on the other side of the glass.
Both in art and in death, Arbus escaped the demeaning constraints of society. By envisioning her as a flawlessly gorgeous mouse with no will of her own, [director] Shainberg and [screenwriter] Wilson have dragged her back.
Downey, however, is remarkable, suppressing his trademark jitters and ticks and delivering a performance of heartbreaking sensitivity, no matter that he spends almost all of his screen time staring out from behind a forest of head-to-toe body hair.
The paperback edition of Patricia Bosworth's mesmerizing book is being published again this week. My advice is forget about the movie and grab this literary gem fast. You will really learn something. You will learn nothing from Fur.
You'd expect a conventional biopic to be bland and overly telescoped. But Arbus's life and work ought to inspire something more than the generic tale of a repressed fifties doll wife who runs off with the circus.
The filmmakers behind Fur sentimentalize Arbus, bringing her back into the comfort zone of a woman who is more sensitive than other people to the trials of the unfortunate -- exactly the kind of soft fifties liberalism that she knocked to pieces.