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Having already played JMW Turner in Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner, Timothy Spall steps behind the easel of another British art world luminary: LS Lowry. But the artist who was famous for capturing industrial landscapes spends much of this film confined within the four chintzy walls of the bedroom of his overbearing mother (Vanessa Redgrave). Playing a woman whose character is monstrously distorted by self-pity, Redgrave is terrific. Flat vowels primped up with affectation, she holds forth on the merits of prunes and custard. Her pale, trembling hands regain their imperious strength when they waft away the efforts of her son to win her approval. And she categorically disapproves of his attempts at painting.
But what starts out as a flinty portrait of the influence of a domineering mother over her unworldly son soon loses momentum. The script, by Martyn Hesford, gets bogged down in repetition. And Adrian Noble’s direction leans too heavily on a score that is as frilly and prim as one of Mrs Lowry’s lace doilies.
Source: The Guardian
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