Lead Actors Save 'The Electrical Life of Louis Wain'
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Lead Actors Save 'The Electrical Life of Louis Wain'

Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy and cute cats keep viewers interested in an otherwise bland movie

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Claire Foy (left) and Benedict Cumberbatch (right) discover a stray kitten on their lawn in the middle of the rain. Benedict holds a blue umbrella.
Credit: Amazon Studios

For non-art enthusiasts, the name Louis Wain might be unfamiliar. However people might recognize the English artist's brightly-colored pieces featuring anthropomorphized cats and kittens with large eyes.

In "The Electrical Life of Louis Wain," co-writer and director Will Sharpe presents a colorful biopic about the artist played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The film also stars Claire Foy, who beautifully plays Wain's wife Emily, Richard Ayoade, Toby Jones and Dorothy Atkinson.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain - Official Trailer | Prime Video www.youtube.com

Though the trailer is mostly approachable, the movie focuses more on the artist's sad tale with his art coming in as a minor priority. In fact, viewers don't see Wain's rise to fame until an hour into the two-hour run time. By then, it's too late to gain viewers' full attention unless they appreciate the emotional rollercoasters and Cumberbatch's acting chops.

Foy is also a standout in this movie, making the plot bearable to follow thanks to the duo and some cute cats.

Like a painting

Cinematography by Erik Wilson in "Louis Wain" is ambitious, but sometimes it doesn't work for the scene. Sure, sloshy unclear scenes are there to immerse the audience into Wain's fear and mental deterioration. But it's also quite distracting when air time would be better used focusing on Cumberbatch, like in an early scene when time slows down with him in the center.

Some of the most beautiful scenes involve changing important landscapes into a painting while the lead actors are still moving. It's reminiscent of painting a picture and making a moment in time last longer. It's a shame that scenes like that aren't featured more often considering the movie is about a painter.

If anything, cat lovers should praise Wain because he makes cats more likeable to the public eye near the end of the 19th century. And movie-goers should praise Cumberbatch and Foy for their performances.

Score: 6/10

Watch "The Electrical Life of Louis Wain" in select theaters starting Friday, October 22, on Amazon Prime starting Friday, November 5. Follow the reporter on Twitter at @s_incorvaia and listen to her podcast Plot Devices on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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