When the movie, Mr Turner, opens you are left in no doubt that a very important artist is about to make an entrance. Turner's father goes around the market to buy fruit, vegetables and other things that makes you ask the question if they are to eat or to be used as colours – after all this is the one and only JMW Turner, Britain's greatest ever artist; Billy, to his father, Mr Billy to his housekeeper - a housekeeper, who is a strange looking woman, with a stoop and a skin condition which progresses with the movie; he uses her for fleeting sex in passing; she uses him the same with a bit more; he greets her when he comes in with a squeeze of her breasts and a touch of her pubic area through her dress in both cases. He does this when she stands by him sitting in his chair and he gives her the greeting without even looking at her – she doesn't look at him.
I loved this film; I loved everything about it. Some clever clogs might come along and criticise it for leaving some things out and putting some things in which didn't happen but . . .this is a movie and a great one.
I don't know much about Turner at all apart from the fact that his father was a barber and one of the things the father buys at a street market is a pig's head; a whole head. The father – the barber – shaves the pig's head, with a cut throat razer, and when they greet each other they hug and kiss and settle down to eat the pig's head. They cut slices off and munch it down and it is as if Turner has eaten so much pig that he sounds like one. He grunts all the way through the film in fact Timothy Spall plays Turner as a pig; a sympathetic lovable hog.
Laurence Olivier said he based his famous portrayal of Richard III on the Big Bad Wolf; well I think Spall has chosen a pig. His perpetual grunt proves that.
Timothy Spall in Hog Mode.
The film doesn't go into Turner's private life too much; well his really private life; we know there was a wife, two daughters and a very strange looking granddaughter – is it a doll or a reject from Call the Midwife? - but they make two entrances whilst we are treated to his artistic raison d'etre.
It is not a typical Hollywood bio-pic even though Constable is in it and other famous figures like Ruskin but there are no lines like “Mr Rolls meet Mr Royce” or “Engels? Meet Marx.”
It should win some Oscars, and deserves, to – acting, directing, photography – well, I hope so, but I don't think so; certainly some BAFTAs but I would like to see Mike Leigh get it for directing and Timothy Spall for acting from BAFTA and OSCAR.