Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh – 2014) A-

A favorite type of movie of mine is one like this. It is not exactly a biopic, but more of a snapshot of a character framed, acted, paced and shot beautifully. There is not a lot of plot or drama here, just a perfect embodiment of the 19th century painter by Timothy Spall. He is eccentric, not particularly nice but is fascinating to watch. We learn a lot about what inspires him and how he paints. He was perceived as a genius mostly and sold a lot of paintings to the rich and powerful. He had a close and sweet relationship with his father who acted as his assistant and a pretty dysfunctional relationship with the women in his life. This started to change a bit when he meets a widow who runs an inn in a port town that he retreated to and that relationship was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Turner seems to have been one of those who loved art for the sake of art. Painting made him happy and he saw what he does as a gift. One of the highlights of the film is when he refuses to sell his work for a crap ton of money to a rich Londoner. When asked why on earth not, his answer is that he plans to gift it…to the British people.  I do not know if this is factual or not but it was a very lovely touch.

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