These picture perfect art films are a great way to learn more about the life of famous artists and to travel back in time! Here are four of my all-time artistic favorites…
1. Big Eyes (2014) – filmed in Vancouver, Canada and California & Hawaii, USA
Margaret married Keane shortly after she had run away from her first husband with her daughter and in this difficult situation, saw Keane as "a blessing". It was the 1950s after all.
Walter is a painter as well… or so he said, because Margaret had never once seen him actually painting one. Instead, Walter is more interested in making big money out of his wife's big children's eyes…
Scene from "Big Eyes". © The Weinstein Company
I really liked this film because it's a great biopic as well as an intriguing time travel trip into the 1950s. It gets pretty dramatic, but also features many funny scenes. For example the court scene at the end when the judge asks Walter and Margaret to paint in order to determine who lied…
Location Spotting: In addition to San Francisco and Los Angeles in California as well as the immensely beautiful Waikiki, O'ahu, Hawaii, many scenes have been shot in Vancouver, British Columbia on the west coast of Canada.
My verdict: An inspiring biopic about art, relationships and a strong woman!
**** 4 out of 5 stars
2. Gambit (2012) – filmed in Albuquerque, USA and London, UK
Deane then teams up with a master art forger (Tom Courtenay) and travels to Alpine, Texas. Here, he successfully recruits rodeo queen PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz) for this scheme and takes her to London.
Scene from "Gambit". © CBS Films
I thought the film was better than its trailer suggests, especially the scene in which Firth climbs on top of the Savoy hotel in London in his undies!
Location Spotting: Much of the film's action takes place in the UK, for example Colin Firth's underwear balcony scene at the Savoy Hotel in London. Albuquerque, New Mexico was one of the main shooting locations for the Rodeo and Western scenes in America.
My verdict: See this if you want to see Colin Firth in his undies, Cameron Diaz talking in the broadest Southern accent or just to laugh at all those other funny scenes!
**** 4 out of 5 stars
3. Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) – filmed in Delft & Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Damme, Belgium and Luxembourg
The Story: Although a bit older now, this is clearly my all-time favourite film about art! When you watch this film it's as if you step right into the famous painting itself.
Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the fictional, but perhaps likely story that a 17-year-old maidservant in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer was the in fact the model and muse for his famous portrait.
Scene from "Girl with a Pearl Earring". © Lionsgate
I have read the book and seen this film many times over. Every time I watch it I feel as if I am actually in Delft, Holland during the 17th century. Everything in it is so real and so quiet… just like in the painting and not at all like your typical Hollywood movie.
Colin Firth (again!) is superb as always as the master painter Vermeer. Scarlett Johansson as the shy, submissive and yet curious maid looks so much like the girl in the original painting that she makes it easy for us to believe this romantic story.
Location Spotting: This film has been shot at several locations in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – including beautiful Delft in the south of the Netherlands, which was Jan Vermeer's real-life hometown.
My verdict: Watch it if you're a history and / or art lover, you will love the picture-perfect time warp!
***** 5 out of 5 stars
4. Tulip Fever (2017) – filmed in the UK
Scene from "Tulip Fever". © The Weinstein Company
Despite the fact that Sophia is married to a wealthy merchant (Christoph Waltz), she falls in love with the artist. Hoping to build a future together, the two lovers decide to invest in the risky tulip stock share market.
Read the full film review in my post Tulip Fever (2017) – filmed in the UK