Friday, February 27, 2015

Mr. Turner (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

"Mr. Turner" Shares A Painter’s Vision

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

You’d recognize a painting by Joseph Mallord William Turner if you saw one in a museum. Those fuzzy, hazy, out-of-focus landscapes have a style all their own, as you may recall from Art Appreciation 101.
A British Romanticist painter, J. M. W. Turner (17751851) is often called "the painter of light" (no,
we’re not taking about Thomas Kinkaid, that commercial poseur who tried to claim the title.) Turner once had himself strapped to the mast of a ship during a snowstorm so he could get the light just right in his painting.

Some art critics describe his work as a precursor to Impressionism. Others have called his paintings abstract.

British director Mike Leigh, OBE, has made a biographical drama about the noted painter. Simply called "Mr. Turner," it is currently showing at Tropic Cinema.

As a filmmaker Leigh has given us dramas like "Secrets & Lies," musicals like "Topsy-Turvy," and comedies like "Happy-Go-Lucky." He’s known for using improvisation to develop his stories. Being that he studied theater at the Camberwell School of Art, and also at the Central School of Art and Design, it’s safe to assume a few smudges of art history rubbed off. So now we have "Mr. Turner."

Leigh describes his films as "real life unfolding under extenuating circumstances." So perhaps it’s a tad unusual for him to do a biopic about a painter whose life is a matter of historical record.

In "Mr. Turner" we encounter the famous painter (played by Timothy Spall) during his later years. And we learn of the two women in his life, his housekeeper (Dorothy Atkinson) who he has children with, and his seaside landlady (Marion Bailey) with whom he also has a sexual relationship. He is celebrated by the Royal Academy of Arts and at the same time viewed as an unpleasant grouch.

"Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall’s great achievement is showing us how the artist approached the physical business of painting," says Sir Nicolas Sarota, director of the Tate Galleries in England. "But they also convey the spirit of a man whose reputation as a curmudgeon is unwarranted, given his passionate interest in people and the world around him."

Passionate interest? Well, at least when it comes to his housekeeper and landlady.


1 comment:

Thomas Watson said...

Finally a movie of one of my favorite artist. I hope they would do a caravaggio or rembrandt.