Hideous Kinky


Hideous Kinky

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 52


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,805
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Movie Info

Gillies MacKinnon directed this $5.6 million production with a screenplay by his brother, Billy MacKinnon. The film adapts the 1992 autobiographical novel by Esther Freud (Sigmund Freud's granddaughter) about hippie misadventures in North Africa in 1972, as described by a five-year-old girl. Disenchanted with the dreary conventions of English life, 25-year-old Julia (Kate Winslet) heads for Morocco with her children, six-year-old Lucy (Carrie Mullan) and precocious eight-year-old Bea (Bella Riza). Living at a low-rent Marrakesh hotel, the trio survives on the sale of hand-sewn dolls and a few checks from the girls' father, a London poet who also has a child by another woman. After the girls match their mother with gentle Moroccan acrobat and con man Bilal (Said Taghmaoui), sexual gears are set in motion, and he moves in, serving as a surrogate father. Julia's friend Eva (Sira Stampe) urges Julia to study in Algiers with a revered Sufi master at a school of "the annihilation of the ego," and in another sequence European dandy Santoni invites Julia and the girls to his villa. As finances dwindle, Julia's philosophy is "God will provide," although usually it's Bilal who provides. This film was shot October-November 1997 in Morocco, where Winslet caught a stomach bug. Back in London, she went directly into the hospital and thus missed Titanic's London premiere. The score blends North African music with British-American pop hits of the '60s. The film's title derives from a word game played by the girls. Shown at the 1998 Dinard Festival of British Cinema and the 1998 London Film Festival.


Critic Reviews for Hideous Kinky

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (18)

  • The fusion of dream sequences and evocative landscapes makes the characters' feverish sense of living at the edge of reality contagious.

    Apr 27, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Kate Winslet, luscious in a brilliantly colored caftan and flushed from the heat of an African sun, makes a beautiful hippie, circa 1972, in Hideous Kinky.

    Sep 7, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Kate Winslet continues an uninterrupted line of fine performances with the modest yet affecting Hideous Kinky.

    Mar 26, 2009

    Lisa Nesselson

    Top Critic
  • MacKinnon draws terrific performances from all involved (Winslet bravely refusing to court our sympathies), lets character, mood and meaning take precedence over story, and assembles a great music track as a bonus. Spot on.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It augurs well for the long-term integrity of her career that Winslet in this movie doesn't try to ingratiate herself with the audience.

    Aug 7, 2004
  • Screenwriter Billy MacKinnon had to have struggled to write convincing dialogue about searching for spiritual enlightenment. Much of what comes out of Julia's mouth sounds like babble.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hideous Kinky

  • Apr 08, 2010
    I don't think this is something I'd come back to and watch over and over again. But Kate Winslet was great as a self-centered and, at times, delusional mother who still really does care for her kids. Interesting and well acted.
    Sarah P Super Reviewer
  • Jan 11, 2010
    I enjoyed the movie. I watched it a while ago so I don't have much to offer. I remember thinking that it was very pretty. The young girls were adorable.
    Megan S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 07, 2008
    Good indie movie that portrays "Arabs" and Muslims in a humanizing light. It was refreshing to see these people of color portrayed as something other than terrorists and foils in some unimaginative action film. "Kinky" made me a fan of Saïd Taghmaoui and made me respect Kate Winslet more as an actress. I was particularly surprised (and proud, actually) to see North Africans actually calling themselves "African." I'd love to see more films like this.
    Remi L Super Reviewer
  • Dec 26, 2007
    Great movie! Fascinating story plot about the adventures of a young woman and her two daughters. Definitely worth seeing!!
    Leo L Super Reviewer

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