Turning her back on her wealthy, established family, Diane Arbus falls in love with Lionel Sweeney, an enigmatic mentor who introduces Arbus to the marginalized people who help her become one of the most revered photographers of the twentieth century.
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In 1958, in New York City, the upper class Diane Arbus is a frustrated and lonely woman with a conventional marriage with two daughters. Her husband is a photographer sponsored by the wealthy parents of Diane, and she works as his assistant. When Lionel Sweeney, a mysterious man with hypertrichosis (a.k.a. werewolf syndrome, a disease that causes excessive body hair), comes to live in the apartment in the upper floor, Diane feels a great attraction for him and is introduced to the world of freaks and marginalized people, falling in love with Lionel.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Towards the end of the movie, Lionel is shown beginning to blow up the canvas raft. He later explains that it is for Diane when he takes his final swim. Someone suffering from such extremely low lung function that he will only live a few months would never be able to inflate a raft that size. See more »
What do you photograph?
Me? Oh no, I'm not the photographer. My husband is.
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For anyone who cares to know something about the real Diane Arbus, or who values psychological veracity, this film is abysmal. Arbus was a brilliant, talented, restless, and troubled person, but this film depicts her as completely self-involved, and truly bizarre in her taste and judgment. Kidman portrays her as wan and vague, whereas she was someone who knocked people over with her charisma. The totally fictional relationship that is central to the film is quite unbelievable, and Robert Downey is truly annoying in his smirking portrayal of someone who seems to think he's superior to the rest of the world simply because of his affliction. The film depicts this encounter as being the source of Arbus's interest in "freaks," which is a truly banal explanation for the inspiration behind some of the greatest photographs of the 20th century. The mystery to me is why people of some talent and intelligence chose to be involved with this film in any way.
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