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Star-studded movie about the famous artist! Celebrated photographer and art impresario Alfred Steiglitz (Jeremy Irons) is shocked to learn that the extraordinary drawings he has recently discovered were rendered by a woman. Deciding to display the work of then-unknown artist Georgia O’Keeffe (Joan Allen) in his gallery without her knowledge, the fiercely private artist orders him to remove the collection. Once Alfred convinces her to allow him to become her benefactor and to champion her artistry, their relationship evolves as they fall deeply in love. Alfred leaves his wife for Georgia, but soon finds her rising star is poised to eclipse his light. As their relationship suffers, Alfred finds twisted ways to emotionally wound her, including taking a younger lover. Georgia’s search for solace moves her west, where she finds new inspiration for her paintings – and ultimately her own voice – in the New Mexico landscape.
While there are numerous documentaries about the iconoclastic modernist painter Georgia O'Keeffe, there has been a dearth of dramatized renditions of her life. Maybe the waiting has not been in vain, because we now have this lovely and respectable biopic courtesy of director Bob Balaban. Georgia O'Keeffe stars Joan Allen as Georgia, and Jeremy Irons as the astute yet eccentric gallerist and artist Alfred Steiglitz. Though the couple's artistic reign was extensive and highly influential, the crux of this film's narrative centers on Georgia and Alfred's tumultuous love affair. Beginning with a scene in which Steiglitz is already exhibiting O'Keeffe's work, they meet on conflicting terms that lead to her staying in New York as Steiglitz quickly falls in love with her enigmatic charm. From here, the viewer begins to understand how Steiglitz fortified O'Keeffe's career and reputation in the art world, while he was detrimental to her personal life. Though the film does clearly sympathize with O'Keeffe's challenging relationship to Steiglitz, it also does a fair job of showing how important a character he was to the modern art movement. While Georgia O'Keeffe is a drama and not an art historical documentary, it does give one a solid sense of the period's intellectual climate. It focuses chronologically on the latter half of O'Keeffe's life, when she discovers solace and inspiration in Taos and Abiquiu, New Mexico. In the end, the film is also a tender portrait of a liberated woman who was a protofeminist and a fierce talent. --Trinie Dalton