Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the life of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.
Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: Timothy Spall, Amy Dawson, Dorothy Atkinson, Karl Johnson, Lesley Manville, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Ruth Sheen, and Sandy Foster
What the critics are saying:
Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes
"Led by a masterful performance from Timothy Spall and brilliantly directed by Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner is a superior Hollywood biopic."
A life is not plot; plot is not life. By scrupulously sticking not just to the accuracies of Turner’s life as we know them but to the tiniest of details, the chipped mugs on kitchen tables, the pantaloons on a passing merchant, the spray of storm surf across the bow of a ship, Leigh wants us to truly see the world Turner moved through. Only by seeing that world can we see how he saw and painted it.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Performances are still the heart of Leigh’s work, and at the heart of this film is an extraordinary performance by Leigh’s frequent collaborator, the British actor Timothy Spall.
Turner's painting of the scene, The Fighting Temeraire will, in fact, become his masterpiece. As Mr. Turner is Mike Leigh's — a growling, snuffling, earthy work of art, every frame worthy of framing.
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