Review by Brian Koller|
3½ stars out of 4
Department of remarkable coincidences: of the four
films that Sonia Braga and Raul Julia have both
appeared in, in three of them they both received
Golden Globe nominations, while not receiving any
Academy Award nominations. "Moon over Parador" was
over-rated, while "The Burning Season" was made for
TV. There are no such excuses for an Oscar snub
for "Kiss of the Spider Woman". While William Hurt
received his only Best Actor Oscar, Raul Julia
gives an equally outstanding performance.
Of course, Hurt had the more challenging role.
He plays a homosexual who fantasizes about being a
glamorous woman, while imprisoned in an South American
country for 'corrupting' a minor. His cellmate
is political prisoner Raul Julia, who is devoted almost
completely to his cause of overthrowing the despotic
At first, Julia detests his effeminate, flirtatious
cellmate, who insists on retelling and embellishing a
Nazi propaganda film that he once saw. (This film stars
Braga, who also plays Julia's lover.) However, Hurt's
kindness to Julia gradually leads to their friendship.
Hurt was well cast. His facial expressions are perfect
for conveying the deeply felt emotions of his character,
and never falls into the easy trap of making the role
campy. Julia's rage and despair are also well delivered,
and there are strong supporting performances by Jose Lewgoy
and Milton Goncalves, who play malevolent government agents.
"Kiss of the Spider Woman" also received Oscar nominations
for Best Picture, Best Director (Hector Babenco), and
Best Adapted Screenplay (Leonard Schrader).
Copyright © 1995 Brian Koller