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At the end of the 1940's, abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) is featured in Life magazine. Flashback to 1941, he's living with his brother in a tiny apartment in New York City, drinking too much, and exhibiting an occasional painting in group shows. That's when he meets artist Lee Krasner, who puts her career on hold to be his companion, lover, champion, wife, and, in essence, caretaker. To get him away from booze, insecurity, and the stress of city life, they move to the Hamptons where nature and sobriety help Pollock achieve a breakthrough in style: a critic praises, then Life magazine calls. But so do old demons: the end is nasty, brutish, and short. Written by
Debbie Reynolds appears briefly as herself in several shots; her face appears on the cover of the August 8th, 1949 issue of "Life" magazine seen in several scenes. The cover was her first for "Life". For the filming, the real cover of the "Life" issue was used, but the pages of the Jackson Pollock article inside are reproductions of the original, with Ed Harris's image substituted for Pollock's. See more »
As the documentary filmmaker is filming Pollock painting, Pollock's footwear changes from "painting boots" to shoes and back to boots. See more »
Jackson Pollock was not a likable person. He was an alcoholic, an adulterer, an egotist and simply a plain jerk. He also was a pioneer in the field of modern art, so he became famous and hence, even had this movie about his life.
Ed Harris, a jerk himself, was a good choice for the role. Harris, who looks like Pollock, did a fine job of portraying this "tormented" soul, a word critics love to use for famous artists (see Van Gogh).
This was an interesting film and I watched it twice. It inspired me to become an artist and I did a handful of Pollock imitations, several of which sold for a decent price. I love Pollock's work, and I enjoy character studies of people on film . But this gets a little sordid as the film goes on with a definitely-unhappy ending.
Hat's off to Marcia Gay Harden for her performance as Pollock's wife. She has the New York City accent down pat. She is shown worshiping her husband and it's painful to see her get hurt.
The story is a bit soap operish but if you enjoy art, and especially Pollock's work, you'll find this story fascinating. More than one look, however, changes the canvas, so to speak. The story, more than the art, then will come through more and that can be too much of a downer. So, visit this "art show" once and leave it at that.
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