Watch Mr. Turner
- 2 hr 30 min
Mr. Turner is a biographical drama film directed and co-written by Mike Leigh. It explores the life and career of the British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, one of the most celebrated artists in British history. The movie covers the last 25 years of Turner's life, from his middle age to his death in 1851, and portrays his complex personality, his relationships, and his artistic legacy.
The movie opens with Turner (Timothy Spall) visiting a seaside brothel to have sex with his housekeeper, Hannah (Dorothy Atkinson). This scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie, as it establishes Turner's unconventional and often uncomfortable sexual behavior, as well as his social status as a wealthy and renowned artist who is not above mingling with the lower classes. From there, the movie shifts between scenes of Turner's personal life and his work as a painter.
Turner is shown to be a man of contradictions. On the one hand, he is a solitary and emotionally repressed person who lives in a messy and unkempt house with his father (Paul Jesson) and two housekeepers. On the other hand, he is a man of great passion and sensitivity who finds inspiration in the beauty of nature and uses his art to express his vision of the world. The movie portrays Turner as a man who is ahead of his time, experimenting with new techniques and styles that are not always appreciated by his contemporaries.
The film also explores Turner's relationships with the people around him. He has a close friendship with his fellow Royal Academician, John Constable, played by James Fleet, though their artistic styles are starkly different. Turner is shown to be a supportive and loyal friend to Constable, even though the latter is sometimes critical of his work. Turner's relationship with his father is fraught with tension, as the two men have different temperaments and views on life. Turner's father is shown to be a kind and gentle man who is proud of his son's achievements but doesn't understand his art. The relationship between Turner and his two housekeepers, Hannah and Sarah Danby (Ruth Sheen), is also complex, as Turner uses them for sexual gratification but also relies on them for emotional support.
One of the main storylines of the movie is Turner's involvement with Sophia Booth (Marion Bailey), a widow who runs a boarding house in Margate. Turner becomes infatuated with Sophia and begins a clandestine relationship with her. Although Turner is not married, he has two daughters whom he has all but abandoned, and Sophia's presence in his life causes tension with his father, who disapproves of their relationship. The scenes between Turner and Sophia are some of the most tender in the movie, as the two characters find solace and understanding in each other's company.
The movie also devotes a significant amount of screen time to Turner's art. We see him at work in his studio, mixing paints, experimenting with light and color, and creating some of his most famous works, such as The Fighting Temeraire, Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, and Rain, Steam and Speed. The movie uses visual effects to show how Turner's art evolved over time, from his early realistic landscapes to his later, more abstract works. The scenes of Turner painting are accompanied by a haunting soundtrack composed by Gary Yershon, which underscores the emotional intensity of Turner's artistic process.
Overall, Mr. Turner is a beautifully crafted movie that offers a nuanced and compelling portrait of one of the most fascinating artists of the 19th century. The movie is visually stunning, with gorgeous landscapes and interiors, and Timothy Spall gives a masterful performance as Turner, capturing both his brilliance and his flaws. The supporting cast is also excellent, with Paul Jesson, Marion Bailey, and Dorothy Atkinson delivering memorable performances. While the movie is slow-paced and meditative, it is also emotionally resonant and deeply moving, offering a glimpse into the inner life of a complex and enigmatic artist.
Mr. Turner is a 2014 history movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 30 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 94.