Hideous Kinky is a 1998 British drama film directed by Gillies MacKinnon based on Esther Freud's 1992 novel of the same name, starring Kate Winslet.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Set in 1972, a young woman Julia and her daughters: 8-year-old Bea and 6-year-old Lucy leave London for Morocco. While living in a low-rent Marrakech hotel, the three of them survive on the sale of hand-sewn dolls and money from the girls' father, a London poet who has another child from another woman.

After the girls match their mother with gentle Moroccan acrobat and nanmed Bilal and 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, Bea and Lucy to his villa. As finances begin 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 strep 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.

Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Kate Winslet as Julia
  • Saïd Taghmaoui as Bilal
  • Bella Riza as Bea
  • Carrie Mullan as Lucy
  • Pierre Clémenti as Santoni
  • Sira Stampe as Eva
  • Abigail Cruttenden as Charlotte

Production[edit | edit source]

The title of the film and the book comes from the only two words that the two girls remember their mum's friend saying "Hideous" and "Kinky".

Bea (in particular) uses the words in a game that the girls play which is similar to "tag" but if she shouts, "Hideous Kinky" before her sister tags her, she is free.

The filming locations took place in Morocco.

Kate Winslet began the film's production in a heavily weakened state because she was recovering from a severe case of amoebic dysentery which caused her to miss the London premiere of Titanic.

Release[edit | edit source]

"Hideous Kinky" was first released in France on October 2, 1998 at the Dinard Festival of British Cinema. A month later on November 17, 1998, it was released at the London Film Festival.

In the United States, the film was given a limited theatrical release on April 16, 1999, closing in theaters on August 19, 1999.

Box Office[edit | edit source]

In the United Kingdom, "Hideous Kinky" grossed £136,980 during its opening weekend.

During the limited release in the United States, it debuted at #46 at the box office, grossing $82,431 during its opening weekend and grossed $1,263,279 domestically.

Critical Reception[edit | edit source]

On Rotten Tomatoes, "Hideous Kinky" was given a rating of 65% based on 52 reviews with an average rating of 5.9\10.

Roger Ebert gave the film a rating of three stars, commenting on Kate Winslet's performance, saying, "What makes it work is Winslet's performance as a sincere, good person, not terrifically smart, who doggedly pursues her dream and drags along her unwilling children."

The New York Times said the film "creates a sensual identity that reaches beyond its storytelling."

Wesley Morris of the San Francisco Examiner reviewed the film, saying that "it also has the potential to be another one of those hideously unkinky vanity projects in which a star puts her integrity on the line for a dollop of earthbound slumming."

Trailer[edit | edit source]


Hideous Kinky Trailer

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