The Woodmans (2011)
The Woodmans (2011)
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Critic Reviews for The Woodmans
This intimate film is a fascinating glimpse into the emotions and art of a New York family whose bright star committed suicide 30 years ago at age 22.
It's impossible to listen to Francesca's parents, deadly serious about art as a higher calling, without feeling both saddened and disturbed.
The Woodmans tells the compelling, if slightly disturbing, story of a family coming to grips with love, ego, resentment and loss.
Willis provides no easy answers and points no fingers, but the search proves fascinating.
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.
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.
Audience Reviews for The Woodmans
emotive tale of the life and death of an immensely passionate soul through the eyes of her family and art
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.
Two untalented, actually terrible artist-art professor parents and one genius artistic daughter who commits suicide because as the untalented father puts it, "didn't get an NEA Grant". Seriously, he said it as if depression, the illness, had nothing to do with it.Then after the daughter posthumously becomes famous, the father stops "playing in the paint," and takes-up photography to copy his dead daughters style. Then the mother rides her coattails too bitching about it along the way as to why she and her husband are not as recognized as their dead daughter.Never do they ask themselves are they any good.I saw this in several ways as being one big infomercial for these two poor confused untalented parents. I got so mad at one point I had to turn it off. It was a good doc though. Grieving parents doing their art to heal? I don't know. The art of Katte Kollowitz, now that's a grieving parent-art. I think this doc shows how screwed up art jealousy can be in some cases, especially within family.Maybe I'm the only one that saw through this, but it really pissed me off-these two parents could't paint the side of a barn and the fathers photography was pretentious dribble, but because of this video we all know who they are now. Too bad Francesca couldn't have stuck around, she was the artist.
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