The Woodmans (2011)

The Woodmans



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Francesca Woodman's haunting B&W images, many of them nude self-portraits, now reside in the pantheon of great photography from the late 20th century. The daughter of artists Betty and Charles Woodman (she a ceramicist and he a painter/ photographer), Francesca was a precocious RISD graduate, who came to New York with the intention of setting the art world on fire. But in 1981, as a despondent 22-year-old, she committed suicide. THE WOODMANS beautifully interweaves the young artist's work … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Musical & Performing Arts, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 5, 2012
Box Office: $38.3k
Lorber Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Woodmans

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (9)

It's impossible to listen to Francesca's parents, deadly serious about art as a higher calling, without feeling both saddened and disturbed.

Full Review… | November 17, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

The Woodmans tells the compelling, if slightly disturbing, story of a family coming to grips with love, ego, resentment and loss.

Full Review… | July 28, 2011
Washington Post
Top Critic

Willis provides no easy answers and points no fingers, but the search proves fascinating.

Full Review… | April 15, 2011
New York Post
Top Critic

Woodman's black-and-white photographs, many of them self-portraits, convey a haunting sense of isolation; of something forever lost from the empty, almost decaying rooms in which she drapes herself.

Full Review… | February 24, 2011
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Willis works to turn The Woodmans into an existential mystery, through a soundtrack full of moody vibes, interviews shot in tight close-ups, and the floating words from Francesca's diaries that Willis inserts as a kind of answer from beyond the grave.

Full Review… | January 20, 2011
AV Club
Top Critic

An indelible group portrait of a family of artists.

Full Review… | January 19, 2011
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Woodmans


There are two ways this documentary could have functioned well enough to actually be intriguing:

A) Make it solely about Betty and George Woodman, husband and wife octogenarian artists, while briefly mentioning the suicide of their daughter Francesca, also an artist, as a past tragedy. Granted this version has less nudity but still...

B) Make it solely about Francesca while getting brief testimony from her parents.

Because combining them into two movies does not work. On the one hand, Francesca's ghost continues to overwhelm any work her parents continue to do in the present day. That is while the documentary manages to gleam some insights when talking to Francesca's friends and acquaintances but hits a brick wall when talking to her parents since all parents usually know less about their child when she becomes an adult and leaves home which is especially true in this case. And that's not to mention the film being that much less interesting when the focus is on Betty and George, to be honest.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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