Mr Turner – hilarious??

Timothy Spall as Joshua Turner, the painter

Timothy Spall as Joshua Turner, the painter

We went to see Mr Turner, a film about Joshua Turner, the painter, which has been very positively reviewed. David Larsen of The Listener described it as “one of the funniest films I’ve seen this year” and as “hilarious”.

What we saw was a film about a man, albeit a painter of genius, suffering Asperger’s Syndrome, utterly obsessive and incapable of communicating sensibly with women; his first lover and daughters banished, abusive or doomed; his maid being groped, suffering badly from alopecia and unrequited love; an academy of artists plagued by petty malice,  and an artist friend who committed suicide; a dinner party of aristocrats tittering and leering at a young woman singer…

Of course, the scenery, and the paintings, were portrayed superbly.  Of course, too, if this was the historical Mr Turner, a brilliant evocation by Timothy Spall.  Some genuinely poignant moments, like Mr Turner struggling to sing Purcell’s Dido’s Lament with a gifted, dignified young woman pianist, and Mr Turner trying to express his feelings for a kindly widow he later lived with.  And a vivid portrayal of Victorian England, ugliness and all.

A five-star film- yes. But funny?  no-one in the theatre when we were there (and none of our friends, men or women, who have seen the film) found anything much to laugh at.

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