This weekend, The Paperboy — director Lee Daniels’ (Precious, Shadowboxer) sweaty, wily adaptation of Pete Dexter’s 1995 novel — finally arrived in theaters after its May premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Nicole plays Charlotte Bless, a boisterous, trashy blond coquette who recruits a Miami Times reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his kid brother (Zac Efron) to exonerate the love of her life (John Cusack), the man she believes was wrongly put on Death Row for the murder of a sheriff.
The film’s Florida setting — populated by crocodiles, jellyfish and the Southern swelter of soul music — makes for a swampy, genre-bending romp that is both silly and serious. But the main word on the street is about Kidman’s performance. Back in May when the film competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote “Nicole Kidman really is terrifically good as Charlotte: funny, sexy, poignantly vulnerable.”
A.O. Scott of The New York Times brilliantly describes Nicole’s turn in this bawdy melodrama: “Ms. Kidman, garishly made up and harshly lighted, is a vampy, campy whirlwind: a femme fatale, a good-time girl and a tragic diva with a husky drawl and teased hair.”
In his ecstatic review for HitFix, Guy Lodge writes: “Finally, [Lee] Daniels again proves … he can tease some remarkable performances out of his actresses in particular: Kidman, relishing the chance to allow most of the character to the surface for a change, is more sexually strident and earthily funny than she’s been since To Die For.”