Mike Leigh's Mr Turner explores the life of renowned British painter J.M.W. Turner, an eccentric man who was not exactly a warm-hearted person. Focusing on the last quarter century of his life, Mr. Turner explores how the death of his father deeply affected him, and a few of his personal relationships, from the love of his housekeeper which he completely ignored, to the relationship he formed with a seaside woman in Chelsea. The first thing that jumps out about Mr. Turner is the incredibly rich and textured cinematography, which by itself attempts to let the viewer see the beauty of the world the same way Turner did. This is without question Mike Leigh's most beautifully filmed work, that utilizes a masterful performance by Timothy Spall to make an unlikeable genius sympathetic. Leigh uses Turner's paintings, which often depicted chaotic sea conditions, as a symbolic representation of Mr. Turner himself, a man who seems to constantly be wrestling with his inner disdain for most people and things. Leigh depicts turner as not someone who is lonely but someone who appreciates solitude, presenting an arguement that they are not even remotely the same thing. It's subtle, but Mr. Turner also makes the case that art is for everyone, not just the wealthy, with the film capturing how high society basically dictates art. LIke all of Leigh's films what may be most impressive about Mr. Turner is how fully-dimenionsal and fleshed out his supporting characters are. From Mr Turner's housekeeper to his lover, these character are empathetic and shown great care by the filmmaker, which in turn only aids in making Mr. Turner a stronger film overall.
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