IMG_0175What’s it all about?

From our friends at IMDb, Mr Turner is:

An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life.

It’s also a little bit special.

Why did I want to see it?

Saw the trailer and thought it looked beautiful, and all of the reviews I’ve seen or heard speak very highly of the film itself and of course of Timothy Spall’s performance as Turner (for which he won best actor at Cannes – well-deserved if you ask me!). The Book God was also very keen so that was our Sunday afternoon sorted.

What did I think of it?

You can probably guess from the comments above that I thought this was just wonderful. Mike Leigh really captured the essence of the period and filmed it in such a way that almost every scene looks like a painting in itself. The whole cast is excellent but it really is Timothy Spall’s film, he just brings Turner alive in all his glory, quite often without saying anything, or limiting himself to a range of wonderfully expressive grunts and snorts and a glorious range of facial expressions, but never hamming it up.

As well as focussing on his changing artistic style and his going out of fashion as he got older, there is a lot in the film about his domestic arrangements, and some of the loveliest scenes are with his father, played by Paul Jesson. I don’t think we see familial love and affection between grown men as much as we should and I do hope that it’s an accurate portrayal of their relationship because it’s just such so touching. The other relationship I liked very much was with Mrs Booth, his landlady on his painting trips to Margate, and the depth of feeling between two people finding love in late in life came across very strongly and movingly.

It’s a long film but doesn’t feel that way, it’s thoughtful and quiet which suits the subject matter. I wish I’d taken note of some of the dialogue so I could use it in everyday life, a much more formal but still very expressive age.

But one of my absolute favourite things was the appearance of John Ruskin as a young man, what a prig he must have been (if this is at all accurate) and interesting to see how he is portrayed here given the soon to be released Effie Gray which is about his disastrous marriage (Turner tells young Mrs Ruskin that love will come which is very sweet, she looks so sad and vulnerable).

One of the great pleasures of the film was seeing it in a fairly packed cinema with an audience that tended towards the more mature, shall we say, all understanding how to behave when watching a film in public 🙂

Magnificent, and if Timothy Spall doesn’t at least get consideration for the major acting awards then I shall be very cross.