Fur: an Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Fur: an Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Steven Shainberg (2006)

15 Certificate


Our Score
With the likes of Dogville, Birth and Eyes Wide Shut on her CV, it's fair to say that Nicole Kidman has always been fearless in her choice of projects. It's also fair to say that this phantasmagoric biopic of American photographer Diane Arbus is definitely one of her stranger roles. Arbus, who died in 1971, was inspired by Tod Browning's cult 1932 movie Freaks and is best known for her photographs of people on the fringes of society. Billed as "an imaginary portrait", this highly fictionalised biographical snapshot follows Arbus as she embarks on a mysterious and sexually charged affair with her neighbour Lionel (Robert Downey Jr), a man suffering from hypertrichosis, which gives him a werewolf-like abundance of hair. Director Steven Shainberg (Secretary) lets Kidman's bashfully aroused performance lead us into a neurotic, psychosexual fairy tale in which normality gives way to a dark carnival of weirdness as the photographer discovers her artistic calling. Kidman and Downey Jr excel as the improbable lovers, and the unusual premise just about survives Shainberg's constrictive pacing and mannered direction.


Fictionalised biopic imagining the events that inspired the photographer's unusual art. Bored with her marriage and work as her husband's assistant on fashion shoots, she becomes fascinated with her mysterious neighbour, a former sideshow performer who has excessive body hair. Starring Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey Jr and Ty Burrell.

Cast & Crew

Diane Arbus Nicole Kidman
Lionel Sweeney Robert Downey Jr
Allan Arbus Ty Burrell
David Nemerov Harris Yulin
Gertrude Nemerov Jane Alexander
Grace Arbus Emmy Clarke
Sophie Arbus Genevieve McCarthy
Jack Henry Boris McGiver
Tippa Henry Marceline Hugot
Allan's new assistant Emily Bergl
Director Steven Shainberg
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: EntertainmentGuidance: Some swearing, sex scenes.Available on: DVDReleased on: 16 Mar 2007