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The best movie made about a painter since Maurice Pialat s exquisite Van Gogh in 1991 and one of the only ones that truly grasps how close artistic genius dwells to the realm of madness. --Scott Foundas, Los Angeles Weekly
4 STARS! Miraculous. --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
- "Making of" featurette
- Gallery of Seraphine's paintings
Top Customer Reviews
This is a lovely film about a working class woman who is obsessed with painting in the mid 1930s. Without training, she set about realizing her vision whenever she could afford paint. By chance, her work is discovered by an art critic. Seraphine appears homely, dirty, and unintelligent, just a pair of hands for washing. But her painting is absolutely magical, in the naive style. Under his tutelage, she gains something of a following and begins to make a living, but then the war intervenes and she loses everything, or so it seems.
The actress heroine is absolutely amazing. Though apparently simple minded, she is gifted with talent and the strength to work. You completely believe in her - indeed, it is a true story.
Recommended. The stark realism that serves an artistic idealism is a rare combination. This is a serious art and psychological film, a reminder of how good cinema can be.
This film is incredibly touching, the true story of an actual French housekeeper who, in her late 40's, while cleaning in a convent, heard her Guardian Angel tell her to paint. As a simple, devout peasant, she did what she was told, and began painting on small panels, all that she could afford. She skimped on food and coal in order to pay for white paint and varnish. She made the colors from blood, stolen from the butcher, flowers and plants and wax taken from votive candles in the church. She had no training and only painted what she loved, the flowers and trees in her beloved countryside.
Into her life, as if by the hand of the Angels, came a German art dealer who lived in nearby Paris. He was probably one of the few people on the planet at that time who would appreciate Seraphine's work. He had collected some Picassos and Braques and was interested in the paintings of Henri Rousseau and other primitives. He was amazed when he saw the small, simple painting of Seraphine's which had been left in the home of the woman for whom she cleaned house.
Thus begins the fascinating story of how these two lives intertwine. I won't spoil it for you by telling what happens. The film is beautifully told, containing much humour as well as pathos. One is drawn into the life of this amazing woman as well as of the man who discovered her genius.
Yolande Moreau, who plays Seraphine, also won a Palm D'or for her captivating performance. Ulrich Tukur is masterful, too, as the German art dealer who has his own share of personal sorrow.
I hope that this film finds a larger American audience. I urge anyone who likes fine work to see it.
The film makes clear the lot of one born poor and female into such a world. The work required to keep soul and body together is endless, grueling, and mind-numbing. Anyone else would drop from exhaustion at the end of such a day, yet with renewed energy drawn from her angelic forces and a deep love of the woods and fields, Seraphine is somehow able to paint by candlelight at night. While some viewers familiar with her story may find the film slow, what it wants us to care about is the hopelessness of a woman in her social position. Without the kindness of a handful of others and the chance discovery of her artistic gifts by a visiting German art critic and collector, Wilhelm Uhde, she would have disappeared into oblivion and all her breathtakingly inspired paintings with her.
The film also emphasizes her isolation. It underscores this theme with the parallel story of Uhde, who for unexplained reasons has retreated to this rural French town from his life in Germany.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this movie , love everything about it . The acting was wonderful!Published 24 days ago by Ann in the South
Amazing story an unknown, lonely, poor recluse artist . I can relate!Published 1 month ago by R. Hewitt
A heartbreaking story and a brilliant performance by Yolande Moreau.Published 2 months ago by Shopping Maven
I love this movie....l've seen it about 15 times. That's why l wanted to finally buy it.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Touching and gripping portrait of how an artist's mind opens and unravels and closes down again. I'm an artist and can relate to much of it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dana