Combustible Celluloid
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With: Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur, Anne Bennent, Geneviève Mnich, Nico Rogner, Adélaïde Leroux, Serge Larivière, Fran�oise Lebrun, Léna Breban, Francis Lacloche
Written by: Marc Abdelnour, Martin Provost
Directed by: Martin Provost
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: French, German, with English subtitles
Running Time: 121
Date: 03/19/2013

Séraphine (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Part-Way Art

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Yolande Moreau delivers a fine performance as the title character, a cleaning lady living in the early part of the 20th century, who mops by day and paints by night; she uses all manner of ground up items for her colors. A famous art critic, Wilhelm Uhde (Ulrich Tukur), discovers her but war and a bad economy delay their plans.

These dual themes run through just about every other art house release these days; it gives the illusion of depth and importance. Also, Séraphine based on a true story, and every frame reeks of it.

The movie runs too long and wastes a subplot about Uhde's sickly son; we're supposed to care when he dies after only appearing in four scenes. Though Séraphine does contain some fascinating paintings and a somewhat interesting view of the artistic temperament, it's neither painterly, nor patient, nor mad. It's even-tempered, evenly-paced and decidedly middlebrow.

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