Category: 2008 Top 10

  • Séraphine (Provost, 2008)

    I can immediately think of two primary types of artist biopics. The first is largely dependent on dramatic irony. You know (and really, the film knows) that Will is going to grow up to be Shakespeare or Ms. Austen is going to become Jane, and so every event is infused with significance. These films appeal to the vanity of the informed viewer. (I’m not saying that is all they do or that they are all necessarily bad for doing so.) Because I know who John Webster is, I take delight in the joke that is unexplained. Because I’m familiar with the plays or paintings or novels, I am instinctively a half second ahead of the reveal and feel smart. And make no mistake, people who watch movies like to feel smart; even if they know they are being pandered to on some levels.