Welcome to a new series here on Cinematical where we select an actor or actress and the role we think is their all time best.
There is no doubt about it, Nicole Kidman is a big old movie star. But, what's always struck me as a little odd is that when you ask most people what they think of the actress, more often than not the reactions aren't all that positive. As for box-office, it's not like her numbers are going to blow you away either. But neither of those things have stopped Kidman from joining the ranks of A list actresses. So yeah, her career has spanned two continents and she has become an icon of glamor, but when it comes to her work as an actress, I happen to think that she peaked in 1995 in Gus Van Sant's dark comedy, To Die For. In Van Sant's film, Kidman played Suzanne Stone, a loose approximation of Pam Smart (the high school teacher who was convicted of conspiring with her 15-year-old lover, and his three friends to kill her husband), a ruthless and truly terrible person who will use her looks and just anything else she can get her hands on to make her dreams of stardom come true.
It was her role in the Aussie thriller, Dead Calm, which had Kidman as a grieving mother in a fight to the death with a psycho on the open sea that first caught the attention of Hollywood. Kidman had a charisma and natural beauty on screen that must have seemed like the perfect fit for blockbuster stardom -- and that's where things started to change. In her subsequent roles in the big budget racing flick, Days of Thunder, she was basically 'the girl', before turning to her first Hollywood role as a bad guy in the '93 thriller, Malice. But her turn as a con-woman in that film was no match for her performance as the murderous meteorologist in Van Sant's black comedy.