Saturday, December 8, 2007

My Kid Could Paint That (2007, Amir Bar-Lev)

I'm not as effusive about this as a lot of people, but there's a lot to respect and enjoy about it. Frankly, I didn't find the Bar-Lev's portrayal of art-world fickleness to be half as interesting as the larger story it tells, a real-life distillation of the principle put forth by Freddy Riedenschneider's old pal Heisenberg. What begins as a happy little girl who enjoys painting gets pulled every which way- by art dealers with dollar signs in their eyes, by art-world tastemakers ready to jump on a hot new talent, by journalists who first smell a story, only to change the story once the original well has run dry. Most compellingly, Bar-Lev isn't immune from this level of interference, although he doesn't realize it until too late. He comes into the Olmsteads' lives in the interest of telling the truth and quickly ingratiates himself into the family, but in the end even he has an artistic agenda he's working, and to his credit he keeps that in the film. But amid the storm, the still center is Marla herself, who is able to ride it out mostly because she's oblivious to what's going on. Yes, she's carted around to openings and TV interviews, but she's young enough that she doesn't seem to realize that there's anything strange about the things happening around her. Lucky her. Rating: 7 out of 10.

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