FINDING VIVIAN MAIER

"Documenting an Artist’s Mysterious Private Life"

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Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

Summary:

FINDING VIVIAN MAIER is a fascinating documentary about a now-deceased nanny who had a secret life as a photographer of more than 100,000 un-posed, realistic street images and a curator’s attempts to find out why she kept her art so secret, FINDING VIVIAN MAIER has a strong Romantic worldview about art and artistic expression, with some foul language and speculation about abuse, so caution is advised.

Review:

FINDING VIVIAN MAIER is a fascinating documentary about a now-deceased nanny who had a secret life as a photographer of more than 100,000 un-posed, realistic street images and a curator’s attempts to find out why she kept her art so secret, FINDING VIVIAN MAIER has a strong Romantic worldview about art and artistic expression with brief foul language and speculation about abuse, so caution is advised.

The documentary is co-directed by John Maloof, a real estate agent who bought a box filled with old negatives at an auction when he was looking for pictures to use in a history book. While he found that the photos he purchased didn’t fit his particular book project, he was haunted by their power and became a photographer himself.

The more he fell in love with the photos, the more Maloof realized there was a mysterious story behind these photos and that they were masterful works. He chose 100 images from the collection and put them online in the hopes of learning who shot them. People came forward saying the photos were taken by a mysterious nanny named Vivian Maier.

Maloof’s subsequent search for her history becomes an incredible mystery, packed with dozens of her images, which rapidly became an art world sensation after her death in 2009. Since then, Maier has become regarded as one of the greatest “street photographers” – or slice-of-life photographers – in history. The movie seeks to explore why she was driven to take the photos but hide them from the world during her sad and lonely life.

Some people speculate that Vivian was a spy, others wonder if she had strange urges that compelled some of the images. Even so, a story emerges from many different people that is both fascinating and sad, and thoroughly compelling, with the bonus of getting to see some amazing, interesting photos from the 1950s and 1960s that Vivian Maier took.

Maloof teamed with veteran documentarian Charlie Siskel to make this accomplished, excellent work. It’s implied that Vivian may have been abused when she was younger because of her dislike of men, though this is only a small part of the movie. Also, Vivian some times was forceful with the children whom she nannied. Overall, FINDING VIVIAN MAIER has a strong Romantic worldview about its subject, wherein artistic expression is mostly personal rather than God-driven, with some brief sexual references and a few slightly disturbing images, so caution is advised.

Content:

(RoRo, L, V, S, N, A, D, M) Strong Romantic worldview about art and artistic expression, where art is mostly personal rather than God-driven; five light exclamatory profanities; a few disturbing images, such as one of a cat hit by a vehicle, but the blood is in black and white; mild sexual content includes a discussion about a woman’s lack of trust in men, headlines about sex crimes, photos of people outside pornographic theaters in sleazy parts of town, and man says woman told him she sat on one man’s lap and felt what could have been an erection; upper male nudity in photo; alcohol; smoking; and, woman is a recluse.

In Brief:

FINDING VIVIAN MAIER is a fascinating documentary. John Maloof, a real estate agent and historian, bought a box filled with old negatives from the 1950s to early 90s at an auction. The power of the photos haunted Maloof. The more he fell in love with them, the more he realized there was a mysterious story behind them. So, he chose 100 images and put them online in hopes of learning who shot them. People came forward saying the photos were taken by a mysterious nanny, Vivian Maier. Experts were amazed by their artistry. Maloof’s search for Vivian’s life story becomes an incredible mystery, packed with dozens of her images.

Maloof teamed with documentarian Charlie Siskel to make this excellent movie. It’s implied that Vivian was abused when she was younger because of her dislike of men, though this is only a small part of the movie. Also, Vivian sometimes was forceful with the children whom she nannied. Overall, FINDING VIVIAN MAIER has a strong Romantic worldview about its subject, with some brief sexual references and slightly disturbing images, so caution is advised.

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