Mr. Turner

The little-known life and times of J.M.W. Turner, one of the greatest (albeit rather eccentric) painters of his time to emerge from England, is told by writer-director Mike Leigh, one of film’s least celebrated treasures. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, Mr. Turner also has a true reserve of talent due to the presence of the underrated Timothy Spall as the titular artist. Spall, a longtime compatriot of Leigh’s (having worked together on highlights like Life Is Sweet and Secrets & Lies) fails to gain big-time recognition because he tends to disappear so far into unfamiliar characters that we mistake the supreme effort he exerts. (Opens Friday at Mariemont Theatre) (R) Not screened in time for review

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