Charting the demise of the Cruise-Kidman marriage through their movies together

By Ty Burr
Updated February 16, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Many are the wedded stars who have played opposite each other, but only Cruise and Kidman have appeared in films that trace the arc of a relationship from initial lust to eventual disenchantment. Perhaps we’re lucky that a projected fourth pairing is now off: It was to be a remake of René Clair‘s I Married a Witch.

Ty Burr

Days of Thunder

Chapter One THE INFATUATED LOVERS The premise of 1990’s Days of Thunder is ridiculous — Cruise plays a stock-car driver named Cole Trickle; Kidman’s a brain surgeon. But every time these two look at each other, it’s like Tony and Maria meeting at the dance in West Side Story. Dialogue that Does Not Bode Well for the Future (Her) ”Do something to make me respect you.” (Him) ”You gotta be good at your job before you can enjoy the rest of your life.”

Far and Away

Chapter Two THE HAPPY COUPLE Ron Howard‘s 1992 romantic epic Far and Away follows a poor son o’ the sod and a wellborn lass as they join the Oklahoma land rush of 1893. Cruise and Kidman use the film as a private playground, winking slyly as if they can read — and enjoy — each other’s thoughts. Still, an impassioned argument over his hat sounds an awful lot like bickering. Dialogue that Does Not Bode Well for the Future (Her) ”You could be very useful to me.”

Eyes Wide Shut

Chapter Three THE MARRIED ZOMBIES Forget all the ”shocking” orgy stuff in 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick‘s final film is a portrait of a couple on autopilot. From the first scene — Kidman on the toilet asking, ”How do I look?” and Cruise absently answering, ”Perfect” — it’s a study in miscommunication, secrecy, and boredom. Or, if you’re feeling cynical, it’s your average marriage. Dialogue that Does Not Bode Well for the Present (Her) ”Maybe I think we should be grateful, grateful that we’ve managed to survive through all of our adventures, whether they were real or only a dream … The important thing is we’re awake now.” (Him) ”Forever.” (Her) ”Let’s not use that word …”