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Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (also known simply as Fur) is a 2006 film starring Nicole Kidman as iconic American photographer Diane Arbus, who was known for her strange, disturbing images. As the title implies the film is fictional for the most part. No pictures by Arbus herself are featured in it either, because the Diane Arbus estate refused to give approval.[1][2]

Fur movie.jpg
Directed by Steven Shainberg
Produced by Laura Bickford
Patricia Bosworth
Andrew Fierberg
William Pohlad
Bonnie Timmermann
Written by Erin Cressida Wilson (screenplay)
Patricia Bosworth (book)
Starring Nicole Kidman
Robert Downey, Jr.
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Bill Pope
Edited by Kristina Boden
Keiko Deguchi
River Road Entertainment
Distributed by Picturehouse
Release date
  • November 10, 2006 (2006-11-10)
Running time
122 minutes
Country United States
Language English


Plot synopsisEdit

The cinematic Arbus (Nicole Kidman) is torn between a bizarre relationship with a neighbor who has hypertrichosis, Lionel Sweeney (Robert Downey Jr.), and a conventional life with her husband Allan Arbus (Ty Burrell). An incident with a clogged drain leads her to a relationship with Lionel and entry into a netherworld populated by transvestites, dwarves and others living on the fringes of society. Gradually she is attracted more and more to Lionel and this new, strange and exciting world. When Lionel explains that he suffers from a problem with his lungs and will die soon he asks Diane to shave his entire body clean. They have sex soon afterwards. At the beach, where Lionel always wanted to go for once in his life, both go out for a swim, but Lionel decides to commit suicide by staying under. Diane, touched by her experience with Lionel, now knows what direction to take with her life and career. The final scene shows her at a nudist camp, where she meets a woman who assumes she wants to take her picture. Arbus admits this, but says she wants to get to know this woman better first. The woman replies that she wants to get to know Diane better too, so Diane decides to tell her story, whereupon the movie ends.



For the film, director Steven Shainberg, best known for his kinky, subtle indie film Secretary, reunited with its screenwriter, Erin Cressida Wilson, who used Patricia Bosworth's book Diane Arbus: A Biography as a source. As its name implies, the film is a fictional account rather than an accurate biography. The nudist colony of Camp Venus was shot at Sailors Snug Harbor in Staten Island.


The film holds a 50 score on Metacritic.[3]

The Chicago Tribune gave the film 3 out of 4 stars: "The result is a revelatory, challenging and deeply affecting portrait, anchored by what may be Kidman's most profoundly moving performance."[4]

The Los Angeles Times criticized the "cop-out ending that undercuts its message about the unimportance of surface differences in favor of a glib finalities to have its cake and eat it too". Although the newspaper continued to heap praise on Kidman and Downey Jr; "the remarkable acting of its two stars pulls you back in and keeps you watching. Kidman, the most consistently daring of today's top stars, is exceptionally convincing as someone whose interior process plays out in front of us. And Downey, for the most part using only his soulful, yearning eyes and a silky, urbane voice, creates a man no one could resist. Separately and together, they make us believe the unbelievable."[5]


The soundtrack to Fur was released on November 14, 2006.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "The Fur" Carter Burwell 3:11
2. "Tango de la Bête" Carter Burwell 1:23
3. "Scary Times" Carter Burwell 1:38
4. "Arbus Family Photo Studio" Carter Burwell 1:53
5. "My Arms Around Myself" Carter Burwell 1:54
6. "Exposure" Carter Burwell 0:57
7. "Seduction" Carter Burwell 1:09
8. "Pipes" Carter Burwell 1:36
9. "Ad Ultima Thule" Carter Burwell 3:30
10. "Call of the Wild" Carter Burwell 1:06
11. "The Tea Party" Carter Burwell 2:08
12. "Following" Carter Burwell 1:58
13. "The Run Back Home" Carter Burwell 1:16
14. "Water Dream" Carter Burwell 3:13
15. "Stepping Out" Carter Burwell 1:04
16. "A Dead Person" Carter Burwell 1:19
17. "Trap Door Party" Carter Burwell 1:13
18. "Drowning" Carter Burwell 1:36
19. "End It" Carter Burwell 1:22
20. "Transmission" Carter Burwell 2:28
21. "The Shave" Carter Burwell 5:22
22. "Into The Sea" Carter Burwell 5:03
23. "I Want to Meet Your Husband" Carter Burwell 0:53
Total length: 47:12[6]


External linksEdit