Mr. Turner 2014

Critics score:
98 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times: I can't say enough about the power of Spall's performance. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Timothy Spall - best known to mainstream audiences as Wormtail in the Harry Potter series - delivers an Oscar-caliber tour de force reminiscent of Charles Laughton Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: A vacuous endurance test about an abstract loser. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: You leave "Mr. Turner," as with all good fact-based films, wanting to know more about this man and his work - and remembering that beautiful, almost touchable light, on the canvas and on the screen. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Epic in breadth and length (2 1/2 hours), and gorgeously photographed (digitally) by Bill Pope, Mr. Turner is intimate in incident. Read more

Scott Foundas, Variety: Mike Leigh takes on the topsy-turvy life of J.M.W. Turner in an exquisitely detailed, brilliantly acted biopic. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: A portrait of the artist as visionary oddball, for whom life was an endless source of both beauty and the irritating distractions blocking his view of said beauty. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: An inspired film, a beautiful exploration of art and creation and difficulty, with Spall's brilliant performance at its center. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: If the past is a foreign country, then "Mr. Turner" is one of the most rhapsodic foreign films you may ever see. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Timothy Spall gives an admirably warty and unpleasant performance as Turner, an arrogant and uncompromising man who's annoyed by his celebrity in Britain but shocked when the public turns against his work. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Without a speck of pomposity Leigh's film - one of the year's best - honors its subject in all his tetchy ambiguity. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: It's a painfully uneven movie, but its best moments are ravishingly good. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Mr. Turner, like just about all movies made by Mike Leigh, creates the sensation of being in a vividly realized mini-universe built from the ground up. Read more

Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly: To use a word often associated with Turner and his art, it's sublime. Read more

Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter: Mr. Turner manages to illuminate that nexus between biography and art with elegant understatement. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: J.M.W. Turner, arguably the greatest of British painters, was an uncommonly difficult man, and "Mr. Turner," the exceptional film Mike Leigh has made about him, does not do things the easy way either. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Mike Leigh's biopic is so richly detailed that it feels like a documentary. Spall goes for broke in the outsize title role. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: "Mr. Turner" is a harsh, strange, but stirring movie, no more a conventional artist's bio-pic than Robert Altman's wonderful, little-seen film about van Gogh and his brother, "Vincent and Theo." Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: It's not a pretty portrait of the artist. But it is a real one. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: Spall may make a grotesque of Turner - piggish, rutting, whoring - but he finds such incandescence in the world around him. And director Mike Leigh lets you see that incandescence as Turner saw it: Everywhere. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: Leigh and lead Timothy Spall make full use of their canvas, creating a sprawling portrayal of a wonderfully messy personality. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: "Mr. Turner" is a mighty work of critical imagination, a loving, unsentimental portrait of a rare creative soul. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Mr. Turner is no barrel of laughs. It's a barrel of life - an extraordinary one. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: At 150 minutes, it's a little too long but there are stretches during its course when it captivates and amazes. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Leigh shows us the world as Turner sees it-harsh and ravishing. His beauty of a movie touches the heart not by sentimental gush but by the amplitude of its art.​ Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "Mr. Turner" is a rich, ruthless and profoundly compassionate study of life and love and art, for those who find themselves on its wavelength, but it also presents itself as a challenge. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Failure isn't only the province of the lazy and uninspired. No, even the gifted and conscientious must occasionally take a stroll through that blasted landscape, and with Mr. Turner Leigh does it, for 2 1/2 hours. Don't go with him. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Writing about Mr. Turner a few weeks after seeing it, I feel a craving to be again immersed in its world, which is rich with colors, textures, and, it sometimes almost seems, smells ... Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Mr. Turner" is a rich portrait of England at a particularly scabrous period. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: For modern moviegoers, the earthy "Mr. Turner" may seem like slowly steeped tea with an unpleasant aftertaste. But while some are impatiently waiting for the paint to dry, astute viewers will see a cinematic landscape bloom. Read more

Katie Kilkenny, The Atlantic: A gorgeous, important film. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: The gap between the celestial art of the great English romantic painter Joseph Mallord William Turner and the brutish details of his life is vividly explored in Mike Leigh's tragicomic movie Mr. Turner. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Keen observer Mike Leigh brings his hawk's eye to a vibrant rendering of J.M.W. Turner, the celebrated British "painter of light." Read more

Sasha Stone, TheWrap: As is usual with any Mike Leigh film -- a style unique and trademarked by now -- his ensemble is a collection of remarkably adept actors who know their characters so well they could stay in character for weeks, continually improvising, as they often do. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: Timothy Spall - a veteran of Mike Leigh's films - plays this eccentric, determined London bohemian like a bronchial, cantankerous, randy old toad with backache. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: The sprawling, loosely structured 2 1/2 hour drama has some of the year's most stunning visuals, many of which appear as artfully composed scenes in Turner's work. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: This is less your standard-issue biopic than a foray into the mystery of human feeling. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: With his incomparable Mr. Turner, Mike Leigh continues to make other directors look simpleminded. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Despite his own failings and faults, Leigh and Spall's Turner is a man consumed by the search for truth and beauty, even in the midst of the less than pretty truths of his times. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Any expectations of reverential biography are quickly dispelled by Mr. Leigh's sharp, scintillating script and Mr. Spall's uncanny daring. Read more