The Electric Life of Louis Wain – Toronto International Film Festival

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Louis Wain’s electric life is a biopic film directed by Will sharpe and produced by Amazon Studios. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular artist, a rather eccentric man who has a knack for illustrating animals, especially cats. The film spans the 1800s through 1900s, including how Wain’s illustrations changed the general perception of cats in London society and his relationship with housekeeper Emily Richardson (Claire Foy), causing much consternation in her family because of their social status and Emily’s age. .

This is Cumberbatch’s second TIFF feature after The power of the dog, and both films show the immense range of his talent. While The power of the dog introduces Cumberbatch as a cruel ranch owner and delves into his gritty Western attributes, Electrical life is more of a whimsical version of the biopic movie. Cumberbatch leans on this fantasy, describing Wain as a rather charming but socially awkward man who is good at drawing animals but less at talking to other people. He’s often pictured hunched over a sketchbook or avoiding eye contact, but when he meets Emily, that changes; he seems more comfortable and willing to open up. The script by Sharpe and Simon Stephenson fortunately avoids smearing the film in schmaltz, which helps the most moving moments to have a real impact; they also approach Wain’s mental state with caution, never playing him for a laugh.

Sharpe and cinematographer Erik Wilson shoot the majority of the film in a hazy, dreamlike state, only passing over dark stages to represent the “lows” of Wain’s life. Perhaps the most striking and off-left streak comes as Wain begins to hallucinate that his drawings have come to life. As I watched this footage, I had two thoughts in my head: “So this is what it feels like on acid” and “This man really loves cats.” contrary to Tolkien, who was content to rely on his the Lord of the Rings a bit too thick references, Wain’s love for cats and his theory that they harness some form of electricity seems to be an integral part of Electrical life and not too much in your face.

Electrical life Also has a supporting cast that perfectly plays Cumberbatch. Foy and Cumberbatch scenes are fueled by the heartwarming chemistry of spoonfuls, while Andrea Riseborough and Toby Jones fill the straight man roles as Wain’s beleaguered sister and boss at Illustrated News from London. Sharpe also parses the flashing cameo cast and you’ll miss it including Sophie Di Martino and even Taika Waititi. Olivia Colman is the film’s narrator, adding to the whimsical element as she recounts both triumphant and tragic events in Wain’s life.

Louis Wain’s electric life stands head and shoulders above the usual biopic, thanks to performance by Benedict Cumberbatch and a rather whimsical take on his source material. Just like other TIFF entries Meet, this film pushes the boundaries of its genre and offers it a richer experience. Whether you are a fan of Cumberbatch’s work, an aspiring artist or really love cats; it is a film that I recommend to everyone.

Louis Wain’s electric life premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. It premieres in select theaters on October 22 and will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video on November 5.

Louis Wain’s electric life

9/10

TL; DR

Louis Wain’s electric life stands head and shoulders above the usual biopic, thanks to performance by Benedict Cumberbatch and a rather whimsical take on his source material. Just like other TIFF entries Meet, this film pushes the boundaries of its genre and offers it a richer experience. Whether you are a fan of Cumberbatch’s work, an aspiring artist or really love cats; it is a film that I recommend to everyone.


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