An Analysis of Frida, a Film by Julie Taymor

Categories: FilmFrida Kahlo
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Watching the film “Frida” expanded my knowledge of an intriguing artist, but more importantly, helped me to understand the way that chronic pain and old wounds affected Frida Kahlo’s life. There are many ways that that pain and those wounds changed her life, much as the epilepsy that I was diagnosed with has changed and continues to change mine. From day to day living to pregnancy to relationships and art, chronic conditions affect everything.

In the film, Frida’s life is forever changed in a bus accident.

Although at first it seems she will never walk again, she is determined (and lucky) enough to power through and learn to walk. My own challenges are not immediately as great–I am lucky enough to have been in a group of people who helped me to be safe when I had my first seizure, so I sustained no permanent damage. Daily, however, I face taking medication to try to keep my seizures in check, constant self-evaluation as to whether I am going to have minor seizures that day, some memory loss that may be related to seizures or the medication I take for it, and limitations in locomotion– I don’t drive anymore.

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I can no longer have grapefruit–one of my favorite fruits–because it interferes with my medication. There are times in the movie where we see Frida dealing with a flare-up of the pain, and there are times when my seizures stop being held in check by my medication.

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Most recently, it flared up when I switched from a daily women’s vitamin to a pre- natal vitamin.

A particularly poignant moment in “Frida” was the discussion that ensued after Frida discovered she was pregnant. I have not yet become pregnant, but as my husband and I discuss the possibility we have found that it’s something we have to be very careful with. Some (if not all) medications prescribed for epilepsy have been found to increase the chances of birth defects, and it is obviously not good for either mother or child for the mother to have a seizure while pregnant. We think we are still going to try to have a child or two, but it will be with the help of a doctor who specializes in epilepsy treatment and a perinatal doctor (i.e. an obstetrician who specializes in dangerous births). Aside from that, my mother always had really horrible pregnancies, so it’s possible that I inherited her tendency to miscarriages and inability to keep food down as well. lost enough potential siblings that for a long time I didn’t really understand why miscarriage is so devastating to most people, even though I know my mother still grieves for the 14+ children she was unable to bring to term. The image of Frida in her bed while in the process of miscarrying brought the horror home a little bit, though her painting speaks more.

If Frida’s pregnancy spoke to my immediate fears, it is the rest of her life as represented in the movie that speaks to my general feelings about my epilepsy. She comes to depend on the people around her–a slow process, but one that I am already taking part in. A decent public transportation system allows me some freedom of movement, yet all too often I am dependent on my roommates, my husband, my relatives or my friends to help me get to and from the store, or to doctor’s appointments, or home from work when I get out late. I also face a growing difficulty in remembering things–especially words, and I was an English major, someone who was used to making words dance to my bidding, and to seeing where words and grammar need change to become better. It comes harder now, which seems to be a side effect of my medication…of all epilepsy medications, curse them.

Watching “Frida” demonstrated how Frida’s pain brought more beauty and depth to her work, as well as how the difficulties of her chronic condition made life more difficult. I truly appreciated the way that she forced her way through when things were at their worst, both with her injuries at the beginning of the movie and during her relationship difficulties. May her strength inspire me to work harder to push through my own problems.

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An Analysis of Frida, a Film by Julie Taymor. (2023, May 25). Retrieved from

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