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420. Mrs Lowry & Son; movie review

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Title : 420. Mrs Lowry & Son; movie review
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MRS LOWRY & SON
Cert PG
91 mins
BBFC advice: Contains mild bad language

The word Lowry immediately conjures an interest in those of us curious to know the driving force behind the unique matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs.
Some have suggested that Adrian Noble's film avoids the cliches of a biopic because it concentrates on his difficult relationship with his domineering mother.
Indeed, a large percentage of Mrs Lowry & Son is set in her bedroom from where she never emerges.
The film stars Timothy Spall as a devoted son who chases after the every whim of his mother (Vanessa Redgrave).
He is a rent collector by day and, only after his home chores, does he take to the attic to paint.
Up until her death, Lowry lived with his mother in their small house in Pendlebury, Manchester. She was bedridden and bitter - a woman bedevilled by disappointment.
His respite from life (and her!) were the paintings which he said he created to try to bring her happiness.
He failed if that really was his ambition and this movie is an accurate representation of their relationship.
Instead, it is portrayed that she actively tried to dissuade him from painting while verbally prodding him persistently.
In the few moments we see Lowry away from his mother, his personality begins to reveal itself but, in reality, he is henpecked and lonely.
The problem is that the continual nagging and unwarranted criticism don't make for particularly compelling viewing.
I notice that Julia Fawcett the chief executive of The Lowry, the museum dedicated to the artist described the film as "very powerful yet humorous".
I can't agree. While I would acknowledge that Spall and Redgrave give performances of considerable merit, there is nothing funny here.
Yes, I was surprised by Lowry's background and his mother's criticism but I think I would have preferred a study of his life and career rather than just one of a couple of years when they were at their most repetitive.

Reasons to watch: The two central performances
Reasons to avoid: It doesn't give enough insight into Lowry himself

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 6/10


Did you know? Lowry was never a full-time artist: in his early 20s, he took a job as a rent collector and this would be his primary trade for the next four decades. He painted most days after work, late into the night.

The final word. Timothy Spall: "Films about artists can be very dull particularly if they reinforce our ideas of a romantic character with flowing hair. There was this clumsiness about Lowry and this wonderful, spritely ungainly thing. There’s this – for want of a better word – ordinariness." Quays Life




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