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The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

  • 2021
  • Will Sharpe
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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Benedict Cumberbatch adds another historical portrait to his credits with this determinedly oddball biopic. He plays the titular Victorian illustrator, who was famous for drawing anthromorphised cat pictures that helped society warm to the idea of felines as domestic pets. Financial woes, an all-female family to support, mental health problems and a tragically short marriage to a governess (Claire Foy) become the markers by which Wain seeks to unlock the "electrical" mysteries of the world. Indeed, much of said electricity is generated by Cumberbatch and Foy's chemistry, while director Will Sharpe's bold visual style delivers extra sparkle, as he utilises fanciful lighting, animated psychedelia, kaleidoscopic images and cutely subtitled kitten dialogue. Unexpectedly charming and sweet despite the inevitable dark routes taken, the film is an affecting watch, and Olivia Colman's cheeky narration is an added treat.

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Credits

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DirectorWill Sharpe

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Formats
Colour
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