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Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… intentionally weird … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 16

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Shainberg reduces this most disturbing of all photographers to a portraitist of Halloween.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Though sometimes boldly captivating, the movie is also occasionally pretentious and lurid simply for shock value.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Fur starts stylishly, and confidently, but the film dwindles down to a chamber piece in a claustrophobic chamber. Enter at your own risk.

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Fur is a misfire by the talented people who four years ago gave us "Secretary," whose tongue-in-cheek approach might have served this film better, taking the edge off much of its pretensions.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    The result is a revelatory, challenging and deeply affecting portrait, anchored by what may be Kidman's most profoundly moving performance to date.

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  • See all Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Biopic is smart, but leaves questions unanswered.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mature biopic about edgy photographer Diane Arbus isn't for kids. It includes explicit nudity (body parts and full frontal at a nudist community), and some sexual activity. The subjects of Arbus' photos include unusual fringe characters like sex workers, dwarfs, giants, twins, and nudists. Characters discuss adultery, depression, sexual desire, and suicide (one character kills himself); children worry about their mother's absences from home. Characters smoke cigarettes and do plenty of social drinking. Language includes at least five uses of "f--k."

  • Families can talk about Diane's increasing distance from her family as she discovers her art. How does the movie suggest that her conventional existence -- as wife, mother, and assistant in her husband's business -- stifles her creativity? How does Diane learn about herself by meeting people outside her usual frame of reference? What purpose does introducing a fictional character (Lionel) into a biography serve? Why is it important to be able to express yourself creatively? What are your creative outlets?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Diane's attraction to Lionel leads to an adulterous night and rejection of her family.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: A character commits suicide.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Pervasive metaphorical and explicit sexuality; full-frontal nudity in first and last scenes (set in a nudist camp); repressed/early Diane reveals her bra on her porch, then worries about it; several scenes show Diane and her husband in bed. (They're intimate but strained: When she licks his wrist, he's embarrassed and pulls away.) Sex between Diane and Lionel (in bed, and also, more allusively, as she shaves off his fur); Lionel asks Diane provocative questions about her desires; mild S&M scene (couple dances, in costume); sensual visuals of fur and some objects (camera, razor).

  • language false3

    Language: Some language: "f--k" (5+), "t-ts," "Jesus Christ!"

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Vintage magazine covers (Vogue, Harper's Bazaar); 1950s products (Chock Full o' Nuts coffee, Sunbeam bread) -- all used to establish scene/era, rather than for promotion, per se.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Plenty of social drinking (martinis, wine, scotch); cigarette smoking.