I had checked Fur out from the library last year but never got around to watching it. I wasn't really missing much.
This movie is supposed to be "an imaginary portrait of famed photographer Diane Arbus" but it could have been about anybody. We never see any photos that Arbus took, the movie is fictitious, so why not say it's an imaginary portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt or Joan of Arc?
Nicole Kidman plays Arbus and the movie begins with her arriving at a nudist camp. Nudist camps are never good things for viewing pleasure. You never see a nudist camp populated by Arizona Cardinals cheerleaders, for instance. It's always people who don't look that great in clothing, let alone nude. Why is Arbus at a nudist camp? Good question, and one that is quickly not answered by sending the story back three months. Arbus is married to a fellow who does photography, largely marketing shots for Arbus' parents who run a fur business. Ah, fur! Thus, the title! Nope. She helps out as her hubbie's assistant but is pretty unhappy with her lot in life.
Arbus becomes interested in her mysterious new neighbor who has just moved into the apartment upstairs. She first sees him from her window. He is standing in the street and is wearing a shroud over his head and has a bad cough. Arbus works up the courage to see him and when she does, she discovers that he is covered in hair, part of some disorder he has. Thus, the title. She tells her spouse that she wants to be a photographer and do portraits of people in the apartment building. Instead, she spends all her time with furry Lionel (Downey's character) who asks her bizarre questions and takes her to places where they hang out with fellow freak show performers (as Lionel once was).
We find out that Lionel is dying from a respiratory problem. Ironic, in that every other character smokes. Not only do they smoke but whatever they smoke sizzles. Every time someone inhaled, whoever was working the soundboard went nuts and made it sound like bacon frying. Drove me bonkers. Anyway, Lionel breaks the news to Diane, Diane gets sad, Lionel asks her to shave him, she does, they have sex, they go to the beach and Lionel drowns himself in the ocean. Diane then leaves her family and goes to the nudist camp.
This was just an odd flick and I didn't much care for it. It was over two hours and Downey doesn't speak until a half hour has passed (he has the appearance in the street several minutes before that). We don't really understand why Kidman is so attracted to him and the others although we can speculate since her parents are asses and her husband is dull. She's not much of a mother. She's really not much of anything which I guess makes up part of her being attracted to Lionel. Nothing in her life was anything to write blog posts about.
There is a good deal of nudity in the flick but that is as irritating as the cigarette sound. Kidman disrobes a couple of times but it is blatant that a body double is used. This bothers me from a vanity standpoint. You have people in this film who don't look good naked. You're Nicole Kidman. Your body is above average and compared to everyone else in this, you're going to look sexy regardless. But no, a double has to be used. I don't know. Not really worth being bothered about, but it did bother me.
As for our hero, well, when you're covered in hair, it doesn't really matter how well you act. No facial expressions can be viewed. Seeing him next to Kidman was odd. She towers over him. Downey was solidly average in a part that really didn't allow him to do much.
The best part of the movie was the soundtrack. Carter Burwell composed it and brought a nice blend of selections to the table, fitting the mood changes very well. His music is very understated (I always felt that the work he did for Fargo best exemplifies his style). Here, check out a smidge: