Critic Consensus: Seraphine is a well-crafted French film that effectively captures one woman's experience with art, religion, and mental illness, and features a brilliant performance from Yolande Moreau.
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as Séraphine Louis, dite Séraphine de Senlis
as Wilhelm Uhde
as Anne-Marie Uhde
as Mme Duphot
as Helmut Kolle
as La mère supérieure
as Soeur Marguerite
as Le notaire
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Critic Reviews for Séraphine
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What makes this slow, intense film so compelling is its persuasive creation of complex characters: You scarcely believe Moreau is an actor and that the film isn't, on some level, archival footage of the real painter.
A naive, between-the-wars French painter is brought to vivid life in the satisfying fact-inspired drama Seraphine.
Provost and cowriter Marc Abdelnour explore the mutable boundaries between spirituality, naivete, genius, and madness, showing how the two outsiders and polar opposites cultivated a mutual understanding.
This utterly beguiling biopic about a cleaning lady with the artistic gifts of a Van Gogh is just a bit special.
Audience Reviews for Séraphine
An excellent bio-pic of the primitive artist, Seraphine de Senlis (the fabulous Yolande Moreau), who heard voices that told her to paint the most intricate, beautiful paintings taken from nature. She came to the attention of an art critic and collector, Wilhelm Unde (Ulrich Tukur) who eventually championed her work in France. The strength of Ms Moreau's performance is what made this film for this viewer. She is phenomenal, capturing the single-minded purpose with which she carried out her duties, her naÃ¯vetÃ (C), her devious nature, and her incredible talent as an artist. Everyone else merely inhabits the frame. Ms Moreau commands it.
Sometimes art comes from the most unexpected places, and that is especially true of Seraphine Louis(Yolande Moreau) who in 1914 takes all sorts of odd jobs cleaning to support her painting which she was told to do by a higher power while at a convent. At the same time, she is two months behind on her rent. But that's not important when she is doing what she loves and can be outside where she can feel the ground beneath her bare feet in the countryside. One of the houses she cleans is for Madame Duphot(Genevieve Mnich) which she is renting out to Wilhelm Uhde(Ulrich Tukur) and his sister Anne-Marie(Anne Bennent). Wilhelm is an influential art critic from the city who was the first one to bring Picasso to the public's attention. So, while the film moves in leisurely fashion, the world of 1914 is not, as a war on the horizon will change everything as realism is being replaced by modernism and beyond in the art world.(But the world is not changing quickly enough as Wilhelm tells Seraphine at one point that he will not marry a woman.) All of which is captured with nuance in this endearing film.
This film is decent, to say the most. To call it a masterpiece is too much... This biographical story revolves around a poor cleaner who turns out to have amazing artistic talent. It is the typical French tragedy, done with typical French cinematography. I never liked the character Seraphine much, although from time to time I sympathized with her. Her acting was unique. It was as if she was taken straight from a poor country into the studio, because there is NOTHING about her that resembles an actress, or a star. But, all in all, the movie was well done.
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