At Rotten Tomatoes, this may come as a shock, but the critics have given Mr. Turner a 97, while we the people who count, who rate, who provide the ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-chang, chang gave it a 61. That's a big spread.
We the people tend to ignore the critics and for good reason! They've got their favorites, and we've got ours, and this ain't one.
Who do you trust?
Oh, sure, Timothy Spall does a fine acting job as J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), the painter, as do all the women in the film (Marion Bailey, Dorothy Atkinson, Ruth Sheen), and I have no doubt Spall will be nominated for an Oscar, but acting, beautiful scenery (like Turner's art), and period costuming (by Jacqueline Durran) can't carry the ball without a playbook. Those who come and pay to see movies would like some action, please, a story line featuring more than a joyless, moody artist harrumping and grabbing about. The script is languid, rather like Turner's pace, a little faster than a drunken slug on New Year's Eve.
(In this role, Spall is proof positive that when it comes to sex appeal, looks don't matter. Position and money are what counts.)
It's another movie, ho hum, which treats women as second-class citizens, but in the 19th century, I don't think they were citizens at all. Women meant nothing to Turner except when he "needed" them. Grrrummmmmpppp.....or is that grrooppe?
Turner is not as good as another film about an artist (Big Eyes) which is pretty miraculous that two films are out at the same time about the lives of artists, but Big Eyes was a pleasant surprise, and coming soon, a review of it.
The fact that I had to hold my head at a 125 degree angle the whole time at E Street trying to see Mr. Turner certainly made matters worse. It was the 5 p.m. show last Saturday, and the theater was all booked except for the very front. Yeeks. Terrible seats. I poked the guy next to me who was about 12 going on 35, and voiced my complaint, and naturally, he agreed. I couldn't tell if those in the front three rows had neck cricks or were fast asleep.
Producers: Where is the movie on strong women? Why do we always have to play second fiddle and be your pawns? I want to see Joan of Arc take on the British, Tina stomp on Ike, Queen Isabella of Spain rule the world, and Catherine of Russia dish it. You go, girls!
I can't wait to see the new woman vampire film. Eat'em up! Let's go!