Museum Hours

  • 12
  • Jem Cohen (2012)
  • Austria / US (SUB)
  • 102 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Vienna in winter provides the sublime setting for this beguiling and often moving treatise on the relationship between art and life. Mary Margaret O'Hara plays Anne, a Canadian visiting the Austrian capital to see an estranged cousin who has lapsed into a coma. There, she forges a platonic friendship with Johann (Bobby Sommer), who translates for her at the hospital, accompanies her on walks, and arranges for her to visit the galleries at the Kunsthistorisches Museum where he works. Occasionally, Anne listens in as a guide (Ela Piplits) lectures on the virtues of the artists exhibited there, but while these orations sometimes miss their mark (along with a tiresome sequence of naked patrons viewing canvas nudes), the performances by the non-professional leads (singer O'Hara is best known for her 1988 album Miss America) are warm and authentic. And by shooting the interiors digitally and the exteriors on 16mm film, director Jem Cohen and his fellow cinematographer Peter Roehsler brilliantly contrast the details in the paintings with the drama, beauty, humour and poignancy of everyday existence.

Plot Summary

A security guard at a Vienna museum strikes up a friendship with a mysterious Canadian woman who visits the gallery. Their discussions of art lead them both to reflect on their troubled personal lives and the ways in which the paintings reflect the outside world. Drama, starring Mary Margaret O'Hara, Bobby Sommer and Ela Piplits.

Cast and crew


Mary Margaret O'Hara
Bobby Sommer
Ela Piplits


Jem Cohen

Other Information

English, German +subtitles
Theatrical distributor: 
Available on DVD
Released 6 Sep 2013
Certificate 12
Soda Pictures