Mr. Turner


Mr. Turner

Critics Consensus

Led by a masterful performance from Timothy Spall and brilliantly directed by Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner is a superior Hollywood biopic.



Total Count: 191


Audience Score

User Ratings: 16,280
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Movie Info

This film explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.


Timothy Spall
as J.M.W. Turner
Paul Jesson
as William Turner
Dorothy Atkinson
as Hannah Danby
Marion Bailey
as Sophia Booth
Lesley Manville
as Mary Somerville
Martin Savage
as Benjamin Robert Haydon
Joshua McGuire
as John Ruskin
Ruth Sheen
as Sarah Danby
Sandy Foster
as Evelina
Karl Johnson
as Mr. Booth
Amy Dawson
as Georgiana
Richard Bremmer
as George Jones
Niall Buggy
as John Carew
Fred Pearson
as Sir William Beechey
Tom Edden
as CR Leslie
David Horovitch
as Dr. Price
Jamie Thomas King
as David Roberts
Mark Stanley (VI)
as Clarkson Stanfield
Clive Francis
as Sir Martin Archer Shee
Robert Portal
as Sir Charles Eastlake
Simon Chandler
as Sir Augustus Wall Callcott
Edward de Souza
as Thomas Stothard
Roger Ashton-Griffiths
as Henry William Pickersgill
James Fleet
as John Constable
Karina Fernandez
as Miss Coggins
Alice Orr-Ewing
as Second Young Lady
James Norton
as Clarinettist
David Ryall
as Footman
Sylvestra Le Touzel
as Ruskin's Mother
Stuart McQuarrie
as Ruskin's Father
Fenella Woolgar
as Lady Eastlake
Richard Cordery
as Dinner Guest
Tom Wlaschiha
as Prince Albert
Marcello Magni
as Colourman
Mark Wingett
as Mariner
Sinead Matthews
as Queen Victoria
Nicholas Woodeson
as Gentleman Critic
Michael Culkin
as Gentleman Critic
Eileen Davies
as Lady Critic
Terence Hardiman
as Gallery Visitor
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News & Interviews for Mr. Turner

Critic Reviews for Mr. Turner

All Critics (191) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (186) | Rotten (5)

  • Mike Leigh's biopic is so richly detailed that it feels like a documentary. Spall goes for broke in the outsize title role.

    Feb 6, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

    Rafer Guzman

    Top Critic
  • At 150 minutes, it's a little too long but there are stretches during its course when it captivates and amazes.

    Jan 23, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • You leave "Mr. Turner," as with all good fact-based films, wanting to know more about this man and his work - and remembering that beautiful, almost touchable light, on the canvas and on the screen.

    Jan 22, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • For modern moviegoers, the earthy "Mr. Turner" may seem like slowly steeped tea with an unpleasant aftertaste. But while some are impatiently waiting for the paint to dry, astute viewers will see a cinematic landscape bloom.

    Jan 15, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • If the past is a foreign country, then "Mr. Turner" is one of the most rhapsodic foreign films you may ever see.

    Jan 12, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Mr. Turner is no barrel of laughs. It's a barrel of life - an extraordinary one.

    Jan 9, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mr. Turner

  • Mar 17, 2016
    Timothy Spall extraordinarily gives impressionistic life to one of Britain's best impressionistic painters. With only a few strokes one is given the idea of a soul (of whom, really, we all can only guess) who happened to create paintings that communicate how indescribable any given moment in life itself really is. Mike Leigh has taken this as a labor of love and the work is often punctuated with landscapes as evocative as those of Mr.Turner's creation. We are seldom far from his work. As well, all the women in his life are remarkably portrayed, with a depth greater than the artist and acheived with fewer lines.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2015
    Reading other audience reviews, it's clear that most viewers are unaccustomed to dealing with any bu the crudest narrative techniques, and the most obvious characterizations. Mike Leigh's style of direction, where character is built slowly up from improvisation, and the delicacy of Timothy Spall's art is lost on people who need a loud argument to denote emotional tension. The film is leisurely, sure: and Spall's artist is a man with rough manners but there's a feast of delicate, expert work to enjoy. Turner emerges through a series of social and personal vignettes as he interacts with his family, his friends and rivals, his society and the landscape, which Leigh photographs with a rapturous formal beauty that comes close to equaling not just Turner, but much of the great 18th century painters .It is a subdued work filled with quiet passion and, if you think it is boring, you had better avoid looking at too many pictures.
    Charles B Super Reviewer
  • May 11, 2015
    Beautiful looking deadly bore.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2015
    The portrait painted of the artist in "Mr. Turner" is as muddled and murky as his paintings were perceived to be by Victorian London. Despite exceptional costumes, sets and locations, despite very good acting, and despite a sublime soundtrack, "Mr. Turner" is a complete failure of storytelling. Turner's motives are never explained other than that he is a fading star whose avant-garde work is not appreciated (although that is not a clear motivation in his relationships since his mistreatment of women seems to far predate his fall from the artistic firmament). Is he a misogynist who rapes and abandons the women in his life and who has merely moved on to the next? Or does he love the women in his life but feels he must hurt and deceive them in order to protect them (...from WHAT?)? The unanswered questions are legion and should not be mistaken for subtle script writing where clues supporting either conclusion are placed throughout the film. There are no clues, and any conclusions drawn by the audience are necessarily based on pure speculation. "Mr. Turner" should have been a five-star film, but the lack of a discernible story leaves the film a mere period atmosphere piece with no compelling reason to see it.
    Christian C Super Reviewer

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