Friday, October 22, 2021

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain - Movie Review

The Movie: The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

The Director: Will Sharpe

The Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones, Sharon Rooney, Aimee Lou Wood, Taika Waititi, Olivia Colman 

The Story: The extraordinary true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, sometimes even psychedelic pictures helped to transform the public's perception of cats forever.

The Review:
Before hearing of this movie, I had no idea who Louis Wain is although I'm sure I have seen his art before, especially since I myself might be referred to as a cat person. His art is so beautiful and colorful and seemed to not only change the public perception of cats but also the perception of art and what it could mean and represent. It's interesting how often the terms genius and insane can almost coexist as if they might be the same thing which I suppose is because most people are not able to fully understand or comprehend either one when they see them in action.

Louis Wain seems to have been just such a person, always bordering on one of those two labels depending on what he was doing with his life and how much those around him were willing to accept or tolerate from him. Director Will Sharpe's vision for the film is just as grand and gorgeously rendered as the imagination of Mr. Wain himself although I think that includes both sides of the coin. At times, the movie is absolutely brilliant with a lot of credit being owed to Benedict Cumberbatch for his performance which shows that he clearly cares a great deal about the artist, after all he is listed as a producer of the movie.

I think the story may have been better served focusing more exclusively on his relationship with Emily Richardson-Wain, played by Claire Foy, as it seems to lose focus and wander off aimlessly during parts that don't involve her in some fashion. I noticed this especially towards the end as Sharpe, along with co-writer Simon Stephenson, try to cover a lot of ground and a lot of time and it just feels crammed in and not given its proper due. While this was a valiant attempt covering the man's almost entire lifespan, I think a bit more focus would have elevated even further.

The Verdict:
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is a beautiful movie to look at and features yet another strong performance from Benedict Cumberbatch and there's also cats which is always a good thing. Outside of that though it's a bit long and a bit long winded but still worth a look because there's cats which is always a good thing. Did I say that already? 

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