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Mr Turner

Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner is quite simply one of the veteran filmmaker’s finest works, and, in time, could easily be considered one of the masterpieces of modern cinema.

Anchored by a magnificent performance from Timothy Spall (awarded Best Actor at this year’s Cannes Film Festival) as J.M.W. Turner, this film is a triumph of small detail, observation, language and the glories of artistic eccentricity.

“Leigh succeeds in bringing to life not only Turner’s artistic circle but the larger tapestry of Victorian England…”

Mr. Turner is constructed through a series of episodes in the painter’s life – moving from an opening scene in the Netherlands to his return to London where he lovingly greets his father (Paul Jesson), brusquely fondles his longstanding housekeeper Hannah and gruffly rebukes his spurned mistress (Ruth Sheen) and his daughter. A cast of women indeed weave in and out of Turner’s life, including the learned Mary Somerville (Lesley Manville) who instructs him on light and magnetism and the tender Sophia Booth (Marion Bailey) in whose Margate boarding house Turner finds true solace.

Leigh succeeds in bringing to life not only Turner’s artistic circle but the larger tapestry of Victorian England, and while Spall is without a doubt extraordinary, he is matched by almost every actor he shares the screen with.