As presented by writer/director Mike Leigh and played by Timothy Spall, J.M.W. Turner is an 18th Century British artist renowned for his landscape paintings, both respected and reviled by his public and peers. Turner himself is congenially-eccentric and sort-of a philandering horndog (having affairs with several women, visiting brothels and often boinking his lifelong housekeeper when the mood strikes him). He also depends greatly on his father, William, who supports his son's artistic endeavors and generally looks after him long into adulthood. After William becomes ill and dies, Turner seems lost until he meets Sophia, a recently-widowed landlady of an inn on the coast. They soon develop a relationship which continues until his death years later.
In a nutshell, that’s the gist of Mr. Turner, a deliberately-paced character study which gives a great character actor (Spall) the chance to shine in a rare leading role. As Turner, Spall is terrific, though he grunts and groans more often than the lead singer of a death metal band. Despite some of Turner’s more lecherous leanings, Spall makes him fairly likable. Mr. Turner is also beautiful to look at, with stunning cinematography & production design that looks like both may have been inspired by Turner’s own landscape paintings.
Still, Mr. Turner can be appreciated and enjoyed for its visual artistry, the lush music score by Gary Yershon and a career-defining performance by Spall.
- Featurettes: "The Cinematic Palette: The Cinematography of My. Turner"; "The Many Colours of Mr. Turner"
- Director Commentary
- Deleted Scene
Not bad...solid performances and nice to look at.