Mike Leigh’s third period drama, after ‘Topsy Turvy’ and ‘Vera Drake’ is a stunning, visually dazzling portrait of England’s greatest painter.
Eschewing the conventions of a conventional biopic, Leigh’s portrait of J.M.W Turner portrays him less as a giant of the English art world and more as a man attempting to make his way through life. Leigh regular Timothy Spall is remarkable as the artist – rightfully earning the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival - never shying away from the uglier aspects of his personality, particularly his treatment of his wife and housekeeper, as well as his brutal assessment of his peers. But combined with Dick Pope’s rapturous cinematography (capturing the essence of Turner’s play with light) and Leigh’s deft directorial flourishes, it makes for an immersive and rewarding experience.
★★★★★ "Leigh's glorious picture is a hilarious, confounding, wholehearted and dazzlingly performed portrait of an artist as an ageing man" - Ian Nathan, Empire
★★★★★ "An extraordinary creation here by Spall and Leigh" - David Sexton, Evening Standard
★★★★★ "Spall is like a moulting, phlegmy Gruffalo" - Robbie Collin, The Telegraph