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average rating is 4 out of 5


Rachel Willis


Posted on:

Mar 14, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Carla Gutierrez
Written by:
Frida Kahlo

Director Carla Gutiérrez lets Frida Kahlo speak through her words, photos, and most movingly, self-portraits (including images from her illustrated diary) in the documentary Frida.


The film moves through the years of Kahlo’s life, weaving in her own words and images from her young life. Film from the time period helps set the scene of Frida’s childhood in Mexico. Photos of Kahlo and her parents illustrate her spoken memories.


The documentary makes impressive use of Kahlo’s paintings to bring the legend to life. This is a documentary that puts the soul of the artist front and center of her own story.


When Frida tries to bring in its own artistry, it suffers by comparison. The choice to highlight certain sections of black and white film in bright colors feels tacky compared to the rich paintings. Used to better effect are animations that enliven the artist’s works.


In addition to Kahlo’s own words, voices from those who knew her pepper the film. Classmates, former boyfriends, and friends add layers to the portrait the film paints.


It is impossible to study Kahlo’s life without examining her relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera. His influence on her life was profound, as was hers on his.


Kahlo’s emotional highs and lows allow the audience to know her in a way that enhances an understanding of her art. Like so many artists, the true impact of her work would only be understood after her death. But in life, it brought her joy.


For those unfamiliar with Frida Kahlo, this is a lush and impressive introduction to her life and art.

About the Film Critic
Rachel Willis
Rachel Willis
Digital / DVD Release, Documentary, World Cinema, Amazon Prime
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