With her two precious daughters in tow, free-spirited Julia flees her stifling life in London for the promise of excitement, freedom and self-discovery in exotic Marrakech. In her single-minded quest for enlightenment and escapism, Julia falls into a steamy relationship with a handsome street performer, but her selfish determination may actually cause her to lose what she loves most.
 

3.5
This is a film that recreates an era and a sensibility extremely well...

Hideous Kinky is possibly the worst title for a movie in recent memory, and possibly the most misleading. Gillies MacKinnon`s latest film is set in 1972 in Morocco where Julia, Kate Winslett, a young English mother of two girls, 8 year old Bea, Bella Riza and 6 year old Lucy, Carrie Mullan is attempting to escape the end of a relationship in England by immersing herself in Muslim spiritualism. Along the way she falls in love with a local acrobat, Bilal, Said Taghmaoui. Penniless and almost destitute she subverts everyone around her to her desire for spiritual bliss. The view in this intrinsically 70`s story is very much from the children.

This is a film that recreates an era and a sensibility extremely well. It also covers interesting territory. That of a Western woman from a wealthy country wanting to extract something esoteric for herself from the Middle East, not necessarily to anyone`s gain. Julia`s relationship with Bilal is central to the story, but it`s his relationship with the children that`s just as important. The performances of the children are crucial and both Riza and Mullan are excellent. They are real children, old beyond their years, perhaps, but still children. There`s a pleasant density to the film which is based on Esther Freud`s novel, that I found compelling.