FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS
Profane, Plotless and Pedestrian
Release Date: November 10, 2006
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey,
Jr., Ty Burrell, Harris Yulin,
Jane Alexander, Emmy Clarke,
and Genevieve McCarthy
Runtime: 122 Minutes
Director: Steven Shainberg
Executive Producer: Edward R. Pressman, Alessandro
Camon and Michael Roban
Producer: William Pohlad, Laura
Bickford, Bonnie Timmerman,
and Andrew Fierberg
Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson
Address Comments To:Bob Berney, President
(A Time Warner Company)
597 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 303-1700
Fax: (212) 421-1163
In the movie, everyone misunderstands Diane. She does not seem to fit into any social structure in which she finds herself. From her wealthy, high-class parents who feel that she does not fit in to their posh life-style, to her photographer husband who knows that she does not fit in to her role as his studio assistant, to her daughters who know that she does not fit into her role as a mother, Diane is lost in her role of the part she plays in life.
That is, until a new neighbor moves in upstairs. The mysterious Lionel, who always wears a mask in public, captures Diane’s attention and captivates her imagination. She soon discovers the reason why Lionel wears a mask. He suffers from a disease that has covered his body in hair. His appearance is that of a wolf-man, a physical oddity that a person might see at a sideshow.
Even though his outward appearance would be frightening to some, Diane faces her fears so that she might photograph this mysterious man. Lionel’s look on life intrigues Diane. Soon she finds that she would rather be with the wolf-man upstairs than with her husband and children downstairs. Even though she starts the relationship by wanting to take his picture, she gains more than just a photograph. She gains a friend and, eventually, an illicit lover.
Merely inspired by Patricia Bosworth’s book, "Diane Arbus: A Biography," FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS moves completely away from the biography of the famed artist and instead takes a fantasy voyage on what circumstances could have made her into the artist she became. The movie proclaims at the beginning, “This is not a historical biography.” It goes on to say that “in tribute” to the artist, this movie “invents characters and situations that reach beyond reality to express what might have been Arbus’ inner experience on her extraordinary path”; hence, the “IMAGINARY” part of the title.
Imagination is where this movie should have stayed. The movie creators’ own imaginations obviously need some biblical sanctification. Not only is FUR plot-less and boring to the point of inducing sleep, it is also filled with excessive nudity and sexuality. Not to mention the fact that the movie’s immoral notion extolling adultery as love, as opposed to being committed to one’s marriage and children, is extremely dangerous and profane.
This movie is not worth the film on which it was printed. The director, whose previous work includes the equally detestable movie, SECRETARY, tries too hard to make an “artsy” film. However, this piece falls so short of that mark that the subsequent thud is almost audible as the movie crashes to the ground.
This movie also does no justice to the story of Diane Arbus. Nor does this “imaginary portrait” provide “tribute” to her artistic legacy. Audiences, in general, should avoid this movie because it is a complete waste of money and time. Also, because of the movie's graphic nudity, gratuitous sex and promotion of adultery, media-wise people of faith should avoid this movie as well.
Merely inspired by a biography by Patricia Bosworth, FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS moves completely away from the famed artist's biography and instead takes a fantasy voyage. Imagination is where this movie should have stayed. The movie is not only plot-less and boring to the point of inducing sleep; it is also filled with excessive nudity and sexuality and extols adultery. Thus, FUR is artistically and morally abhorrent.