Arabic Release date2 October 1998 Based onHideous Kinky
by Esther Freud WriterEsther Freud (novel), Billy MacKinnon CastKate Winslet (Julia), Saïd Taghmaoui (Bilal), Bella Riza (Bea), Carrie Mullan (Lucy), Pierre Clémenti (Santoni) Similar moviesRyia and Skina, Sorry for the Disturbance, ?? ???????, ??? ?????, Dear John, Friends with Benefits
TaglineA Journey to Love
Hideous kinky trailer 1998
Hideous Kinky is a 1998 drama directed by Scottish director Gillies MacKinnon. Based on Esther Freud's semi-autobiographical 1992 novel of the same name, it follows a young English mother who moves from London to Morocco with her two young daughters in the early 70s. The film stars Kate Winslet and French-Moroccan actor Saïd Taghmaoui.The soundtrack mixes original music with songs from the 60s, including tracks from Canned Heat, Richie Havens and the Incredible String Band.
In 1972, disenchanted about the dreary conventions of English life, 25-year-old Julia (Winslet) heads for Morocco with her daughters, six-year-old Lucy and eight-year-old Bea. Living in a low-rent Marrakech hotel, the trio survive on the sale of hand-sewn dolls and money from the girls' father, a London poet who also has a child from another woman.
After the girls match their mother with gentle Moroccan acrobat and conman Bilal, sexual gears are set in motion. He eventually moves in with them and serves as a surrogate father. Julia's friend Eva urges Julia to study in Algiers with a revered Sufi master at a school of "the annihilation of the ego". In another sequence, European dandy Santoni invites Julia and the girls to his villa. As finances dwindle, Bilal's philosophy is "God will provide", although usually it is Bilal himself who provides. Sometimes he also disappears. At one point Bea contracts a streptococcus infection while he is gone and nearly dies. Bilal returns only to disappear again, but he has a plan. They discover that three return tickets that suddenly appear have been bought by him with money he got from the sale of his uniform. In the end, Julia and the girls board a train back to London.
Kate Winslet's performance won praise from many reviewers. In Entertainment Weekly, Lisa Schwartzbaum argued that Winslet "perfectly projects that naive self-centeredness with which a Woodstock generation of young wanders, seeking spiritual revelation, made their way to cultures as exotic as their thumbs could take them". In Variety, critic Lisa Nesselson also praised the "radiant" and "sturdy" Winslet for her performance, and argued that the film was "filtered through a sober and intelligent artistic eye". Rolling Stone reviewer Craig Mathieson called the film "a compelling authentic journey".
As of November 2016, website Rotten Tomatoes - which compiles and averages old and new reviews for a film - had Hideous Kinky rated at 65 per cent approval.
Kate Winslet ... Julia, the mother of Lucy and Bea
Saïd Taghmaoui ... Bilal, con man and acrobat
Bella Riza ... Bea, eight year old sister of Lucy
Carrie Mullan ... Lucy, six year old sister of Bea