Reviews for Nicole Kidman

Booklist Reviews 2006 August #1
There are star biographies, full of fluff, and then there are real biographies, full of substance. This is one of the latter. The author does give readers the kind of information they're accustomed to getting from the typical star bio--Kidman's feet are size 10, for example--but he also delivers lots of things you don't usually find in a book with a star's name on it. A legitimately critical appraisal of the star's work, for example. Or, in this case, a fascinating study of the rise of the Australian film industry and its impact on the North American box office, and an incisive analysis of today's top female actors and Kidman's place among them. Celebrity biographers tend to worry about the next interview or the next book deal and consequently do a lot of tiptoeing; Thomson, a noted film historian, says what he thinks. For example, he calls Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer's films, such as Top Gun and Days of Thunder, "neofascist bombast." And he doesn't pull any punches when discussing some of Kidman's less-than-stellar film work. By putting his subject's life in its professional and historical context, and by shooting straight from the hip, the author gives us a full-size, honest portrait of Kidman--and a revealing look at Hollywood movies and the stars who make them. ((Reviewed August 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Choice Reviews 2007 June
Also author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (CH, Oct'03, 41-0668), biographies of Orson Welles (Rosebud, CH, Dec'96, 34-2078) and David O. Selznick (Showman, CH, May'93, 30-4913), and other books on film, Thomson states that this unauthorized book on Kidman "is about acting and about an actress, but it must also study what happens to anyone beholding an actress--the spectator, the audience, or ourselves in any of our voyeur roles." Accordingly, this is more a critical analysis of the life and career of the Academy Award-winning actress and less a standard Hollywood biography. Thomson notes that his purpose in writing about Kidman is "to honor desire," and he appears to be somewhat obsessed with his subject (some of his remarks about her seem almost salacious). He offers some incisive commentary and acute insights on Kidman and her career, yet digressions detract from the overall text. For instance, he indulges in casting Kidman in roles in which she did not appear--e.g., in Rebecca, Mississippi Mermaid, Belle de Jour. A more standard biography is James Dickerson's Nicole Kidman (2003), and the present book is best read in conjunction with Dickerson's. Summing Up: Optional. Extensive academic collections, all levels; general readers. Copyright 2007 American Library Association.

Library Journal Reviews 2006 September #2

Film historian Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film ) offers a somewhat digressive assessment of Nicole Kidman's film career, as well as an examination of her personal life and the attendant responsibilities of being a celebrity in today's world. Thomson's unique critical voice proves fit to analyze Kidman's impressive credits, which include some of the more fascinating films of the last decade (To Die For , Eyes Wide Shut , and Moulin Rouge ). His critiques are written with vigor and reflect a deep knowledge and appreciation of cinema both past and present. Unfortunately, Thomson moves from insightful erudition to peculiar asides in the space of a few pages, which ultimately leaves his book disjointed and frustrating. One wishes he had focused on more traditional criticism or expanded his sometimes eloquent and personal thoughts on the nature of stardom and our bonds with celebrity and film into a full book. Recommended for large public or academic libraries with film studies programs.Jim Collins, Morris Twp. P.L., NJ

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 August #1

Thomson's love letter to Kidman is less a biography than a long and winding meditation on moviemaking and starmaking. Thomson attempts to chronicle the actress's personal life based on her statements to the media, her choice of roles and an interview with her, but the bulk of this account consists of his inferences and analysis, including the observation that actors project what they expect we, the public, want them to be. His angle on Kidman is a question: is she sincere in her actions and true to herself? The real question is, how much do we care? Following absorbing sections about her youth in Australia and beginnings as a talented newcomer in Hollywood, Thomson (The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood ) constructs a time line of Kidman's movies, giving near-equal weight to her breakthrough in To Die For and her Oscar-winning role as Virginia Woolf in The Hours as to a string of duds (Birth , The Stepford Wives , The Interpreter ). For Thomson, the failures offer fertile or, sometimes for the reader, tiresome opportunities to reimagine casting, directing and story. Omnivorous movie buffs might appreciate Thomson's take on Hollywood, but US Weekly readers won't have the stamina for his blend of star worship and criticism. (Sept.)

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