Release Date: July 17th, 2009
Rated PG not recommended for children
Running time: 121 minutes
Marten Provost (dir.)
Marc Abdelnour (writer)
Martin Provost (writer)
Michael Galasso (music)
Yolande Moreau as Séraphine Louis, dite Séraphine de Senlis
Ulrich Tukur as Wilhelm Uhde
Anne Bennent as Anne-Marie Uhde
Geneviève Mnich as Mme Duphot
Nico Rogner as Helmut Kolle
Adélaïde Leroux as Minouche
Serge Larivière as Duval
Françoise Lebrun as La mère supérieure
Séraphine (Yolande Moreau) and Wilhem Uhde (Ulrich Tukur) - Photo Courtesy of E1 Entertainment
Our reviews below:
Séraphine Review By John C.
*** (out of 4)
Séraphine Louis was a painter who lived in the Senlis, France. Séraphine follows her in the last 28 years of her life. By day, she works for a rich family, scrubbing their floors and washing their clothes, by night she is a painter. Using whatever materials she can, mixed with white paint that she buys with her small earnings, she paints onto small pieces of wood, mainly using her fingers. She creates, mainly, still-life's of fruit. When an art collector becomes the new tenent in the house, he discovers Séraphine’s natural artistic abilities.
At just over two hours, the film does go on a bit longer then it needs to. What keeps the film worth seeing is Yolande Moreau’s excellent perfomance as Séraphine, and Laurent Brunet’s beautiful cinematography of France.
While the film is too slow for those who like more action, if you're patient with it’s pace you should definitely see Séraphine. Fully deserving of it’s 9 nominations at the César awards, (the French equivilant of the Oscars), and it’s 7 wins, including best picture. As well as awards for best actress and best cinematography.
Séraphine Review By Erin V.
*** (out of 4)
Séraphine tells the true story of the painter Séraphine Louis, known now in the art world as Séraphine de Senlis. The film takes place from 1914 to around 1940, during and after the first world war. This was the time when Séraphine’s art became known to German art dealer, Wilhelm Uhde.
While the film is interesting, it is quite slow moving, and this being said, is not the kind of movie that the majority of people are going to go out and see in theatres. At over two hours, on DVD, this could easily be watched in two parts. The scenery is beautiful in the landscaping shots, and the acting is very good, but the editing could have been tighter at parts, as the middle was kind of slow. Oddly, after this, the end felt kind of rushed.
Overall, if the story interests or intrigues you, this would be worth watching once you can find it to rent or buy. The subtitles are easy to follow, (the film is mostly in French), as this film has little dialouge. There is just nothing, other than the scenery that, for me, would make this a must see in theatres. A good movie, but not one that I can see getting a wider theatre release. It opens in Canada, in limited release, in Toronto and [Montréal?] today.
Séraphine Review By Nicole
*** (out of 4)
Séraphine is a quiet, low key film. Based on a true story, this movie tells the story of one eccentric artist in the French town of Senlis. The artist, Séraphine, starts out as a maid for the snobby landlord, Madame Duphot. During her spare time however, Séraphine, when not climbing and touching trees or playing with water, looks for various things to turn into paints. She then will paint small pictures of flowers, leaves, and fruits on pieces of wood. Her employer mocks her paintings, saying they look like they were done by a six year-old. However, when a German art collector, Wilhelm Uhde, who helped discover Picasso and Rousseau, discovers Séraphine's talent, he loves her work, and asks to buy some of her paintings. When World War 1 breaks out, Wilhelm and his sister have to return to Germany. He encourages Séraphine to keep on painting. Séraphine does, and when Wilhelm and his sister come back, Séraphine gets her artwork into galleries. Sadly, at the height of her career, Séraphine becomes mentally ill, and ends up in an asylum. Wilhelm fights to make sure that Séraphine is well treated, and can get access to the trees that she loves so much.
I liked Séraphine. The story was very interesting, and the acting is quite believable. The scenery and music is beautiful. There is very little dialogue, and the movie does drag slightly, so the movie isn't for those with short attention spans. However, Séraphine is a well made movie, with a fascinating story line. See it if you have the chance.
Séraphine Review By Maureen
*** (out of 4)
Séraphine is a gentle, quiet and beautifully shot work of art. Based on a true story, “Seraphine” follows the adult life of an eccentric painter in France around the time of the first world war.
Séraphine was a plain and akward woman working as a cleaning lady in a french villa. She keeps busy with physical labor all day, then goes home to spend all night painting with materials she has gotten from various places. When a German art collector moves into the villa, he discovers Séraphine’s talent and tries to help her establish an art career. Sadly, Séraphine’s mental state is unstable and her delusions that angels are guiding her work lead her to be locked away in an asylum. The fine line between genius and madness is obvious in this touching story.
The strength of this film is the superb acting by Yolande Moreau, who plays Séraphine. She makes Séraphine completely believable without resorting to over dramatization. The scenery is beautiful and the music fits the quiet, gentle pace of the story. There is not much dialogue in the movie, so the visuals and the music are what move the story forward.
I really liked Séraphine, my only complaint is that at over two hours it feels too long. Because of the slow, quiet pace, my mind wandered at times and I missed reading some of the English subtitles. With so little dialogue, you don’t want to miss any of it.
Overall, this is worth seeing if you are in the mood for a quiet film about an artist. Séraphine is a work of art in itself.
Séraphine Review By Tony
***1/2 (out of 4)
Seraphine est un film sur la vie de Séraphine Louis, dite Séraphine de Senlis, qui habitait ce village-là au nord de Paris. Au début on regarde cette femme de 48 ans en 1912 travaillant comme femme de ménage des maisons bourgeoises. Elle passe son temps libre en cherchant des herbes en campagne, du cire volé des cierges de l’église, du sang dans le pot de foie chez le boucher, pour mélanger avec du peinture blanc acheté avec les sous qu’elle gagne. En nuit dans sa petite chambre, en chantant ses prières sous la lumière des bougies, elle peint, plutôt avec ses doigts, des toiles plein des fleurs, fruits et feuilles. Wilhelm Uhde, un des locataires dans la maison où elle travaille, est un collectionneur d’art d’origine allemande qui avait déjà découvert les artistes Rousseau et Picasso. Ayant trouvé par hasard un des toiles de Séraphine, il lui dit qu’elle est bien douée, et doit travailler beaucoup malgré les moqueries des autres pour se faire une grande artiste. Il commence à la subventionner, mais au commencement de la première guerre mondiale il faut s’échapper en allemagne et ne retourne qu’à 1927. Croyant d’abord que Séraphine était morte, il la retrouve, maintenant une des meilleurs artistes dits naïfs, qu’il préférait nommer “primitifs modernes”. Il promesse encore de la soutenir, et elle commence à peindre des tableaux à deux mètres d’hauteur et se trouve avec plus d’argent qu’elle peut ménager. Mais sa richesse prend fin à cause de la dépression de 1930 et elle a une crise de délire qui la fait transporter dans un asile psychiatrique et abandonner son métier pour le reste de sa vie. Elle meurt en 1942 avec des milliers d’autres habitants des hôpitaux pendant l’occupation.
Seraphine déroule des fois un peut trop lentement pour nous, mais il vaut la peine de découvrir la vie d’une telle personne. Sous la direction de Martin Provost, Yolande Moreau est devenue Séraphine totalement, et les autres acteurs, surtout Ulrich Tukur comme M. Uhde, sont tous excellents. Enfin, le film est beau à voir, entre les scènes de campagne et les scènes dans la chambre, où la lumiere des bougies nous fait rappeler les tableaux chiaroscuro des hollandais.
Consensus: Coming Soon! *** (Out of 4)