The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

BBFC RatingThe Electrical Life of Louis Wain

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Certificate12A
Year2021
GenreDrama
DirectorWill Sharpe
WritersSimon Stephenson, Will Sharpe
LanguageEnglish
CountryUnited Kingdom
Running Time1HR 51MINS
SeasonMain Programme

The extraordinary true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, sometimes even psychedelic pictures helped to transform the public's perception of cats forever.

Narrated by Olivia Colman, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain tells the story of the Victorian-era artist whose widely published drawings of anthropomorphised cats transformed them from mysterious to irresistible and in turn supports his widowed mother and five younger sisters. His skilled and speedy portraiture impresses, but his often stormy view of the world and those in it keeps him from engaging much with society. That is, until he hires a kind, curious governess for his youngest sisters, Emily Richardson (Claire Foy), who illuminates his life in a way even he’d never imagined. Love blooms across the class divide — albeit to the chagrin of Louis’s stern sister Caroline (Andrea Riseborough), second oldest and second in command.

Writer-director Will Sharpe uses dynamic visual technique and colourfully shifting mood to convey Louis’s complicated mind, fickle wealth, momentous love, and consuming grief. Cumberbatch’s transcendent performance stands at the centre of an impressive cast that includes Toby Jones, Adeel Akhtar and even a cameo from Nick Cave as H.G. Wells.

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