Nicole Kidman is one of the most talented and prolific actresses of our time. The Aussie beauty has been acting since she was only a teenager, and has wracked up quite a resume both in her home country and abroad. She continues to take part in exciting projects, like the upcoming second season of Top of the Lake.
There are so many good choices for a Nicole Kidman marathon, but might we recommend these 11 genre roles if you’re looking for some Kidman-centric flicks to watch or re-watch? Featuring everything from a western TV series to several of the horror films Kidman has taken part in, there’s something on here for any kind of genre fan…
Five Mile Creek (1985)
Genre: Western TV Series
When I was a kid, this western TV series about a 19th-century stagecoach in the Australian “wilds” was one of my favorites to rent from the local video store (apparently, it also aired on the Disney Channel in the 1980s). Nicole Kidman joined the show’s cast in the third and final season as Annie, a rough-and-tumble sheepherder, and she is so, so young. (Also, so much hair.)
Five Mile Creekis loosely based on a Louie L’Amour book and has many of the same tropes as any classic American western, but with the added bonus of having a female-driven narrative (Kate and Maggie run the waystation for the stagecoach line in the Australian Outback) in a genre that all-too-often relegates female characters to thin, supporting roles. Added bonus: Star Trek: The Next Generation‘sJonathan Frakes guest stars as Maggie’s husband Adam Scott in season 1.
Yeah, this show is pretty dated at this point, but it’s also a lot of fun. If you’re a big fan of Kidman’s or of westerns, it’s definitely worth finding the first season on DVD.
Batman Forever (1995)
Genre: Superhero movie
Ah, the halycon days of comic book superhero movies when women had even less to do. Batman Foreverdoes some things right, but Kidman’s Dr. Chase Meridian isn’t one of them — something Kidman herself kind of addressed in a recent Yahoo!Movies interview. Though she had good things to say about the experience, she said of her role (or lack thereof):
I remember going, ‘I wish had more of a role, though.’ It’s great being the girl in the Batman movie…. But I’m an actor and you go, ‘Gosh I want more to do.’ So I would still love to do some sort of superhero movie where I get to do the cool stuff.
We’d love that, too, Nicole Kidman. For now, though, rewatching Batman Foreverwith a focus on Kidman’s character is an interesting exercise in how many elements of the superhero film genre have changed and how many have stayed the same — namely, in the latter category, the often asinine love interests of the male, superhero leads.
For now, we’ll leave you with this classic Dr. Chase Meridian line from the scene in which she tries to seduce Batman by using the bat signal as a “beeper”: “We could give it a try. I’ll bring the wine… you bring your scarred psyche.” Classic stuff.
Practical Magic (1998)
Genre: Supernatural Romance
Many people unfairly dismiss this movie as a fluffy rom-com. This is a mistake. Sure, Practical Magichas a lot of the conventions of a typical romance (which isn’t a bad thing), but it also has some dark themes. The basic premise is that best friends/sisters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) are trying to find happiness despite a) the curse on their witchly family and b) Gillian’s abusive ex-boyfriend (played by Goran Visnjic) back from the dead to haunt them.
More than romance or witchcraft, Practical Magicis about family and community. Also: margaritas. It also happens to have an amazing cast, including the aforementioned as well as Stockard Channing, Aidan Quinn, Dianne Wiest, and a very young Evan Rachel Wood that elevate the material even further. Come for the prospect of Kidman and Bullock — two of the best actresses of their generation — playing sister witches, stay for the Stevie Nicks-centric soundtrack.
The Others (2001)
Though Practical Magicand The Othersboth deal with the supernatural, tonally, they couldn’t more different. But that doesn’t mean one is good and the other is not. Like Practical Magic, The Othersis one of those films that has been somewhat forgotten in the era of peak entertainment. So many middling movies have been released in the last few decades. But, if you’ve never seen The Others,then you should give it a try.
The Othersis a post-World War II story of a mother, Grace Stewart (Kidman), whose two young children have an intense allergy to sunlight. They live in a large, isolated house in the country where Grace keeps a controlled lock on every aspect of her children’s existence. When three new servants arrive on the scene, Grace begin to become suspicious that ghosts are haunting them all.
The film actually won three Saturn Awards, including Best Horror, Best Actress (for Kidman), and Best Supporting Actress (for Fionnula Flanagan) and, as the Saturn suggests, Kidman is so good in it as a controlling, paranoid mother trying to do what’s best for her children and not always, um, succeeding.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
One of the great cinematic classics of all time, Moulin Rouge!is a film that only gets better with multiple viewings. It’s kind of amazing that Nicole Kidman is able to so seemlessly step into the musical genre and pull off this performance, even working through a broken rib during the apparently intense filming.
Kidman and co-star Ewan MacGregor are the heart of this film. Without their strong, relatable performances, the zany chaos of Baz Luhrman’s direction would surely collapse under its own weight (see: Australia).
The Golden Compass (2007)
As a whole, The Golden Compassis one of the most disappointing film adaptations of all time. We could spend all day trying to figure out who to blame for The Golden Compass’blandness. Whoever it was, the New Line Cinema film took Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materialscomplex, exciting, and incredibly emotionally affecting book series and made it, well, none of those things.
The thing that makes this particularly sad (besides everything) is that the casting for this film was, generally, amazing. Kidman was great as Mrs. Coulter, as were Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Sam Elliot, Ian McShane, Ian McKellen, Kathy Bates, and Kristin Scott Thomas (seriously, the list goes on) in their respective roles.
We don’t blame you for this film, Nicole Kidman.
Genre: Fantasy (What? It features a talking bear.)
Everyone knows that a film is only as good as its antagonist. Live action family film Paddingtonwas, no joke, one of the best films of 2014 and, given that Nicole Kidman played “bad guy” Millicent Clyde, you can imagine what that adage implies about Kidman’s performance. One part absurd meglamaniacal taxidermist, one part legitimately scary villain, Kidman’s Clyde will no doubt go down as one of Kidman’s most memorable performances.