J. M. W. Turner had built quite a reputation in Britain as a revolutionary artist of immense calibre for his landscape paintings. His newfound fascination for ships and paintings of the sea and the coast basking in golden light of the rising sun, had him elevated to the most revered marine painters of the early 19th century. This obsession however takes a heavy toll on his personal life and wellbeing to push him to obscurity. The different phases of the latter part of his life are what that creates the rest of the movie.
Running Time:
150 min
Release date:
31 October 2014
Directed by:
Mike Leigh
Produced by:
Georgina Lowe
Written by:
Mike Leigh
Timothy Spall
Dorothy Atkinson
Marion Bailey
Paul Jesson
Lesley Manville
Martin Savage
Music by:
Gary Yershon
Shot by:
Dick Pope
Editing by:
Jon Gregory
Distributed by:
Entertainment One

What’s Hot

  • Timothy Spall who plays J. M. W. Turner’s role makes a strong impression with his grumpy attitude towards people ignorant of his artistic exploits. The few times he manages a smile while sharing funny moments with his father, the few times he cries out loud at the demise of loved ones and the few times he blushes in the face of flattery for his work – these are subtly enacted by Spall and deserves appreciation.
  • Dick Pope’s cinematography commands awe as he highlights Turner’s poignant moments on the voyages he takes in search of picturesque landscape to feature in his paintings. To cite an example, the scene where Turner and his aristocratic friends enjoy the view of an enormous steam ship on a river as they ride a row boat, is a symbol of excellence.
  • To create an entire movie set in the early 19th Century Britain is no ordinary task with Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts taking care of even intricate details such as interior decor of kitchens with appropriate utensils, the early camera and associated setup at a photo booth with utmost perfection.
  • Costumes to suit the period setup of Britain and that too for a wide range of economic sections of the society from the aristocrats to the artists and even the housekeeper, could be a severe test – one that Jacqueline Durran manages to pass with relative ease while not creating even an iota of disconnect from the narrative

What’s Not

  • The very mention of Benjamin Robert Haydon, leave alone the inclusion of his encounters with Mr Turner, defies any plausible explanation since it does not bear any influence on the fate of Mr Turner’s life or this movie whatsoever. Though Martin Savage gives all his heart to play Haydon, it simply seems to be a good 15 minutes of time ill-spent while looking at the big picture.



Verdict Stamp

‘Mr Turner’ is a masterfully made biopic on J. M. W. Turner bound to appeal to fans of the art works from the early 19th Century. Superior cast performance and sincere dedication from the technical team are responsible to transport us back in time to see Mr Turner come to life, literally – truly a deserving artistic depiction!