A Portrait of a Painter
"Mr. Turner" is a look at the later years of British painter J.M.W. Turner. We see his closeness to his father and how his death affected him. We see how his loyal maid was in love with him but all he did was to use her. We see how he was eccentric when it came to being part of the Royal Academy of Arts but also see his tender side after a meeting a widow on his frequent trips to Margate and how in the end they were living in secret in Chelsea.
I will apologise now as this is not going to be a proper review of "Mr. Turner" rather than a glimpse at what I jotted down whilst I watched the movie. The reason for this is that whilst I can judge "Mr. Turner" as a viewing experience I have no idea how accurate it is.
Now during the first half of the movie I wrote down "Bored", "can't make out what they are saying" and "random". That is how "Mr. Turner" certainly comes across for those who watch with no idea about the life of Turner and with it focusing on the last quarter of his life it does throw you in at the deep end. The thing is that whilst it is often hard to make out the grunted speak of Turner it certainly makes him an almost bullish character who when you see him march along the street looks like he would walk right over someone if they didn't get out of the way.
But during the second half I wrote "softened", "self centred" and "eccentric". And that is very much the thing about Turner is that on one hand you had this man seemingly possessed when it came to his artwork, who went through moods and would even spit at his paintings whilst working. You also see him force himself on his maid when he felt a brutish urge. But then we see his softer side as he meets the widow Booth who rents him a room when he visits Margate and you almost begin to like this character who almost leads this double life.
As such I will say two things; firstly if you are finding "Mr. Turner" boring stick with it as in the end the storyline grows on you when we get to see the other side of Turner. And secondly whilst the character of Mr. Turner is often intelligible due his manner of speaking in short, pig like grunts Timothy Spall certainly delivers a full on character which must have ended up quite draining.
What this all boils down to is that "Mr. Turner" is one of those biopics which will probably appeal to those who have an interest in J.M.W. Turner the most. But it is a movie which whilst initially extremely hard going ends up actually coming good and becoming dare I say quite interesting.