When it comes to celebrity body parts, few have been scrutinized, analyzed, or criticized as much as Nicole Kidman’s forehead. For much of her career, it was a perfectly nice forehead — we daresay even a particularly attractive forehead, with a propensity for cutely wrinkling. But beginning around 2007, it became noticeably, distractingly stiff (and helped pioneer a new style of acting). In movies like Margot at the Wedding, Australia, and The Golden Compass, Kidman’s forehead and the rest of her face seemed at odds: Her nose, eyes, and mouth would passionately move around, acting their little hearts out (their little eye hearts and nose hearts), while her forehead stubbornly refused to play along. But no more. In her new movie Rabbit Hole, where Kidman plays a grieving mother, the whole face is working together again, with no abstainers. (We’re not the only ones who noticed: Entertainment Weekly recently ran an essay, not online, called “The Return of Nicole Kidman’s Face.”) To truly appreciate and celebrate the fact that one of our best actresses once again has access to a full range of facial motions, we’ve assembled three GIFs to illustrate its dramatic history.
To Die For: In this 1995 Gus Van Sant movie, a 28-year-old Kidman, still married to Tom Cruise, played Suzanne Stone, a malignantly ambitious wannabe TV personality with plans to have her husband axed and a forehead that regularly scrunched up.
Australia: In Baz Luhrman’s 2008 cotton-candy epic set in the forties Australian outback, Kidman’s forehead appeared to be straining, almost trembling to break free. Alas, it could not.
Rabbit Hole: And, it’s back! Phew.