Re-Watching The Impressionists [part 1]- With a Smile

The fact that the re-watch got delayed and delayed is already symptomatic for what is generally the problem with re-watches: They are not new, and it never feels urgent to write a review about something that has been out there for quite a while. And in my case, that even applies to my “first time”. I remember joining the fandom by way of tumblr pretty much exactly seven years ago. I was catching up on all things Armitage at the time, discovering “new” old photo shoots, articles and series that Richard had been in before I first laid eyes on him in Spooks. And I knew for a very long time that he had played Claude Monet in The Impressionists – and never felt compelled to actually watch the show. Most of the time, when that happens, it just merely means I am deliberately delaying the moment when I am “all caught up” – it is just so delicious to look forward to yet another previously unseen performance of my favourite actor. I want to savour those moments, draw them out for as long as I can. Because once done, you can never go back to that first impression… The Impressionists, however? Somehow did not interest me. Partly because I am not a major fan of the actual style of painting. Partly because I just could not get over the horrible wig and facial hair on Richard in the pictures and screen shots of TI. I remember pronouncing my scorn very arrogantly on tumblr, only to be put right by my very wise and understanding fan sister Abby: The look may have been silly. But TI was so worth watching because this was a role in which Richard was allowed to *smile* often – and brightly. And what can I say – she was right.

Monet at the art school. Screencap

So, seven years later, and the effect is still the same: TI starts off the best way possible, with Richard smiling. In episode 1 we are introduced to Claude Monet as an old man. He is working in his house and garden in Giverny. A young journalist visits him, and he tells the story of his career to the journalist in flashbacks: Monet comes to Paris as a young man, enrolling in a painting academy. He is the son of a grocer and chandler from Le Havre. At the Gleyre art school he meets and becomes friends with Auguste Rénoir and Frédéric Bazille. The three young painters quickly realise that their way of seeing – and painting – is different from what is demanded and prescribed by the Paris Salon. The salon is the taste police of the time, and only whatever passes their critical (and conventional) eye will be allowed to go on display in the salon. Since the salon is also the marketplace for art, failure to meet the taste of the salon means failure to sell. For many of the artists, Monet included, that means poverty.

Among the painters rejected by the salon, is Édouard Manet. His Déjeuner sur l’herbe really raises the hackles of the salon – and pushes the boundaries that Monet and his group also want to overcome. Together with Bazille and Rénoir, Monet becomes the proponent of “impressionism”. Seeing the world one moment a time, every painting is just an impression of that imperfectly perfect moment. Painting outdoors is an entirely new idea. Yet it is a slightly more conventional portrait of his muse (and later wife) Camille that gets Monet his first ever participation in the salon.

 

The Woman in the Green Dress (1866), Kunsthalle Bremen

However, on the whole, the impressionists are still struggling with being ignored by the salon – or with their own poverty. In Monet’s case it gets even worse when his muse, Camille, gets pregnant. Monet abandons the woman because his family has threatened to cut him off if he marries her. Eventually, however, he sees the error of his ways, returns to her, and they live together as a family, with both wife and child posing for his paintings.

The romantic struggle becomes less romantic when the Franco-Prussian war breaks out in 1870, forcing Monet into exile in Britain, and killing Bazille. But eventually Monet returns, and his thirst for artistic innovation continues… (end of part 1).

∼🖼∼

Despite not liking impressionist paintings, there is no doubt that the impressionist painters were genius innovators. They revolutionised visual art, and an episodic show about their story is exciting in its own right. The BBC version of it, filmed in 2006, leaves no doubt that it is attempting to produce a visually attractive mini series. Right from the start, the show comes with bright and brilliant colours, and often the cinematography copies the impressionist originals, recreating not only the scene but also the style.

The waterlily pond in Giverny. Not a painting but a screencap

Claude Monet is quite clearly the hero of the piece. Richard plays him, and gets a large proportion of the screen time – which he unfortunately also has to share with Julian Glover who plays old age Monet. The dual Monets already hint at the way the story is told: in flashback. It’s a popular – and frankly also rather unoriginal, storytelling device. I am not keen on it, and TI was a case in point: I never understood why it was important to frame the actual story of the impressionists by the old man reminiscing to the interviewing journalist. If anything, looking at the old man looking back bored me, and I wanted to get back to the gorgeous young Monet laughing his teeth eyes out (6.50 in the clip) or the bits where that group of happy, handsome painters was cavorting through the Paris art scene. Having said that, the show is very good at explaining the challenges and difficulties of the time. It paints a picture of Paris that is as inspiring as it is cruel – the poverty and restrictions of the time clearly depicted.

Ouchies in bed. Screencap

For comparison’s sake, here is the Bazille painting:

Frédéric Bazille “The Improvised Ambulance”. Musée d’Orsay

As for Richard – what a joy to see him in a role that is full of youth, joy and curiosity – qualities that I very much associate with him, even 13 years down the road from when this was filmed. And even though Richard has occasionally expressed his doubt about being cast as anyone who *isn’t* dark and pained. But the bright-eyed, happy young man sits very well on his face – even though I occasionally found his teeth a shade too white for the times. But when the young painters are sitting in the gloomy bistro, drinking to the future, is there any way you can *not* think of happy, giggling RA from the Behind the Scenes clip? I found myself breaking into laughter just because I was reminded of the bloopers, almost waiting for Richard to stammer under his breath “I can’t bear it. You twat!”

But look beyond the straggly hair and the weird beard – for instance in the cleverly cropped image above – and you see this gorgeous young thing. Maybe not entirely conventionally pretty. There is a lot of nose there. But when he gets those eyes to sparkle with laughter, you can see that Monet was a happy man, despite the hardships he had to endure. And when Richard gives us a few extras, the fangirl hearts beat faster.

Gloves or paintbrushes – no matter what he puts between his teeth, we just love it. Screencap

Daddy!Armitage – my heart has just exploded. Screencap

So verdict: After episode 1, my impression is the miniseries has aged well, despite the boring flashback scenario. But the story of the impressionists never gets old. Episode 1 is very good at drawing us into the atmosphere of the time – the personal obligations and challenges of the individual painters (but mainly Monet), and the artistic restrictions and conventions of the art scene in general. The set-ups are designed with care and an artistic eye, and it is a pleasure to watch the actors fill out the scenery with their enthusiastic portrayals of the men who changed the art world forever. Especially when there is some deep shadow to accentuate the best bits 😊

71 thoughts on “Re-Watching The Impressionists [part 1]- With a Smile

  1. I agree about being happy to see RA use his gorgeous smile to his (and our) full advantage. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of the hair in stills, but it barely registers for me while watching. RA plays Monet’s passion and hunger for art so vividly and with such enthusiasm that much like an impressionist I find myself mesmerized by the whole instead of focusing on one small detail. He completely drew me in and though I was reluctant to tackle this (in part due to the photos I had seen), I have to say I loved every minute of it.
    The lighting and coloring of the entire show is, as you’ve remarked, often like a painting itself. It reminded me of the way the Helston scenes were filmed for N&S—deep, rich and vibrant colors to show off the juxtaposition with gray and monochrome Milton.
    I also enjoyed the background on the painters and I am in love with the shots of the gardens of Giverny. For that alone I would gladly accept the premise of the flashbacks, not that it bothers me. I’m very much looking forward to the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s quite different, seeing RA play a character that is happy, enthusiastic, full of life. Some of that is obviously age-related. I mean, ok, he is middle-aged now, so the characters he gets to play are more grounded and rounded… He never really got to play much of the silly youngster, I guess, so the young Claude makes for a bit of a difference.
      So yeah, on the whole, the show gets my thumbs up. But it is definitely not my favourite show. One of its drawbacks is that it is a biopic – and it just goes through too much too quickly. By default.

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  2. The Impressionists is a favourite of mine, one of the reasons being Richard’s smiles. I’m a visual artist’s child who grew up surrounded by all forms of art expression, so I have a huge soft spot for this sort of productions, and the BBC has always done a stellar work with them.

    By the way, you do know that it’s actually Richard painting, right? According to the guy who instructed the cast, our lovely man was the one who required virtually no training, being quite gifted with a brush and palette. I even remember reading somewhere Richard was quite pleased with the final outcome of a Monet reproduction he worked on.

    Is there anything this man can’t do well?

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    • The BBC is definitely great at these kind of docu-dramas. They are entertaining, yet detailed enough to be educational, too.
      As for RA painting – yes, I have heard that. But tbh I don’t believe that he actually painted the whole canvas as seen in the shots. I think they were prepared by the artist who you are quoting. RA merely applied some brushstrokes where he was told to – and that looks quite genuine (and definitely requires some training or actual talent, so I don’t mean to belittle his dedication to doing things properly. But it is not painting as such.) I don’t really think that he is a painter, though. (Did you see his doodles…?)

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      • Yes, I have seen his doodles. l’m not saying he either is or could be a “creative” painter but his got the eye and the hand. He’s got beautiful handwriting when not rushed, unusual amongst men who aren’t good at drawing or painting.

        What there’s proof is that he was the artistic one with a brush when it comes to The Impressionists. According to Leo Stevenson- the man who coached them- “Some actors, like Richard Armitage, actually took to painting extremely well and painted in a really convincing manner. Others were nervous of doing any real painting and so I sometimes stood in for them in their costumes for the close-ups of ‘their’ hands painting or drawing. .” (https://web.archive.org/web/20170506003104/http://leostevenson.com/TV/impressionists.html) and Richard himself said: ” I knocked up a reproduction Monet in rehearsals. It wasn’t bad!” [Daily Express Saturday Magazine, 29th April, 2006].

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        • Yep, I remember reading this, but I took it to mean that he was not afraid to actually apply the paint with his brush on the prepared canvas. As in: “he convincingly *acted* the process of putting paint to canvas” rather than “he actually painted a beautiful picture”. I was surprised that so many fans made a big fuss about RA supposedly being able to paint… I think he should stick with acting, tbh…

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          • As I said before, he might be able just to “recreate” something that isn’t his own. I’m quite good at drawing portraits based on pictures, provided I do it only in pencil and focus on the light and shadows. However, I’m not adept at creaing anything original or making portraits using a live model…

            Still, what is certain is that his intelligence is 100% artistic and not limited to acting. I’d love it if we could hear some of his cello playing or see him in a role that demanding his using his musical skills beyond singing, which we know he does vreally well. After all, he had offers from symponies at a younger age, so he must have been quite good. What is certain is that he hasn’t mastered the art of taking selfies or drawing doodles yet. LOL.

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            • Oh, my sleepy head is interfering with my fingers once again! I meant “that demandED”! Don’t you just hate it when there’s no EDIT button?

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            • I am afraid I am not quite as convinced as you that he is a renaissance man. But that’s fine with me. I do not need him to be a brilliant painter and a professional musician. For me, it is enough that he is among the best actors of his generation. That’s what I admire him for.

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  3. OK, I’m not a review er, or writer..SO, I agree with all your observations. I happen to like Impressionist art.I have copies of Monets work. As for Richards acting, I thought he was very good..My thoughts..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve taken the words right out of my mouth! Despite having been Richard’s fan for a little over 2 years now (has it really been that long?), I still haven’t seen everything he’s been in. I just don’t want to suddenly find myself with nothing “new” of his to watch. I too like to savor the journey and extend it as long as possible.

    The Impressionists has always been one of my faves despite that it doesn’t usually feature on any of my “top” lists for his works. I still love it for exactly the reasons you mentioned: he smiles so dang much! And it’s sooo cute! Would it kill him to be in more works where he *doesn’t* look like he’s about to murder or be murdered? Actually, it probably would kill him. Man dies in everything lol. I also love that he’s playing an artist, and I especially love artists that enjoy creating art. (Yeah, that sounds ridiculous, but I had an ex-bf who didn’t actually enjoy writing, he only wrote because he needed the idea to be out of his head. It was like a chore. As an artist myself, this baffled me to no end, and it really made me realize I love to see artists, of any kind, actually *enjoy* what they do.) I wasn’t as bothered by old man Monet, but I get where you’re coming from. And why have a different actor playing Richard’s character when we can just have more Richard, after all? Heheheee…

    Oh! And it’s funny but I showed TI to my parents a few months back (when I finally managed to find DVDs that weren’t exorbitantly priced), and I thought they wouldn’t like it but they ended up loving it. Isn’t it so much fun when family/friends enjoy our Richard and his works as much as us? 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are so right, Angrboda – it is inspiring and cheerful to see RA portray an artist. And especially in the act of creating. Whether we do it professionally or recreationally – but creative pursuits are so life-affirming and mood-lifting… And it is lovely to see Richard the artist, playing an artist, and doing so without being required to smoulder and scowl. I firmly believe that our own moods and outlook on life is very much shaped by the colours, themes and moods that surround us. And I sometimes feel sorry for Richard being pigeonholed into this dark and menacing type of genre… The man can laugh so beautifully.
      I am always torn whether I actually *like* my family/friends enjoying Richard and his work or not. I love it when they endorse him – as in: oh yes, he really is a good actor. But on the other hand I dislike “sharing” him with my nearest and dearest. Haha. Not that he is mine, anyway…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Is it awful to admit I’ve never seen it. I have it, but I’ve not sit down to watch it.

    I think my summer will be very busy watching RA stuff I”ve never watched.

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  6. I think I first fell in love with Monet’s paintings in 1995. They had a special centenary exhibit of his work at The Art Institute in Chicago and I remember being really moved by his beautiful art. Fast forward to several years ago when I was a newbie RA fangirl trying to devour all his available filmography and voilà, imagine my delight to find Richard starring as Claude Monet in The Impressionists! While probably not one of his most acclaimed roles, I really liked his portrayal of Monet. He completely nailed all of my romanticized fantasies of the passionate artist who not only pours his vision of natural beauty onto the canvas, but is a beautiful soul himself. I loved his joyful enthusiasm, the wide smiles that make his blue eyes sparkle and his kind and gentle demeanor. There were times, I have to admit -he made me swoon just a little. (that earned him a pass on the wonky hair and facial shrubbery) 😆 I’m not a fan of the flashback storytelling method tbh, and I felt myself wanting them to get on with it and get back to the flashback part of the story already! Also, I loooved all the beautiful cinematography and the gorgeous paintings featured by Monet and the other artists- I really enjoyed watching this again. ❤️

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    • I absolutely agree with everything you said, D. His ‘joyful enthusiasm’ makes this an absolute feel-good watch for me.
      I, too, swooned over his Money quite a few times. There’s one scene in particular in a later episode. And all this joy and energy really let me overlook the hair situation most of the time.

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      • Yes, Kate. I’m with you …it was a totally feel good watch for me too. Seeing him smile so much felt hella uplifting after so many dark roles and darker endings. I know things get more complicated in later episodes but it remains a mostly feel good story.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always ideal when private interests converge so neatly with Richard’s project. (I had a little bit of that when he filmed Pilgrimage in Ireland.) I think you are absolutely right: The show allowed him to act out all our romanticised ideas of the poor, misunderstood painter. Whether you like impressionism or not – his Monet was a character worth watching. The first episode didn’t yet touch on it, but in the last two episodes the character development becomes really interesting to watch, and the happy, cheerful Monet gets a few other emotions for Richard to play with.

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      • Exactly, G. And I can see how Pilgrimage’s filming located in Ireland struck a chord with you. I think it inspired you to visit some of the locations used if I’m not mistaken. Yes, the nice part about this role is we get to see various emotions from Richard (and none of them include insanity or murder..just sayin) that are just the basic human struggles of life, love and loss.

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        • It really is sweet – because it is not the extremes of emotion that he played as other “realistic” characters. The more I think about it, the more I like the show… If you keep at it, you make an impressionism fan of me yet 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t the time to rewatch but I only saw it a couple months ago on YouTube. I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t say it was the most amazing piece of drama but there are plenty positives. RA literally glows a through it, and like everyone. ..just so happy to see him smiling so much. It was nicely educational too..which I enjoy aswell. The whole thing is very pretty to watch. I like the scene when he sees his wife to be out of the window….that appeals to my romantic dreamer sensibilities!

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  8. I saw TI for the first time for this occasion, so thank you, now it’s a fav of mine! I was worried by the absence of subtitles, and actually I did understand almost anything – but, ehy, that was only the first time! I enjoied the effort to replicate the vibrant palette of the impressionists on screen, a little tacky but effective. There are photos of Monet and of his long luscious beard so I can’t understand why made up him like Billy the Merry Goat. But, who cares? There’s the Nose! Beautiful, beaky lovely nose! Oh, how much I miss it! 😭 The story is very focused on art pieces, that I love, and I was so lucky to see a lot of them, in various exhibitions. Ah, the only thing more annoying than the voice over is a unintelliglble not-RA voice over. I’m sure that next time it’ll go better. IMHO the whole cast played whit the handbrake on, probably in the attempt to be enough didactic 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Lurkerella – I also enjoyed the way they recreated the impressionist paintings on the screen. Tacky, sure, but it also served to show that the impressionists really *did* paint from what they saw.
      The whole styling of Monet remains a mystery to me, too. I kind of got used to the hair growth eventually, but that weird round-top hat??? I wondered whether they felt the need to tone down Armitage’s attractiveness a little bit, to make it a *serious* show, and not a drool-facilitator.
      Interesting point re. playing with the handbrake on in order to be didactic. Tbh I didn’t really think they played with reservation, but I agree with you that the show tried to be non-confrontational and unprovocative. It probably could’ve pushed a little bit more but chose to stay a clean family show…

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  9. Pingback: RA Pocket Shrine 185/? – Dream On | Guylty Pleasure

  10. I love Impressionist art – Monet and Renoir are my favourites – and like Widoedm53, it was a joy to discover that Richard played Monet in this mini-series. He is simply wonderful in the role.
    I’m very fond of Claude; his luminous smile, divine laugh (there’s not another chaRActer who laughs anywhere near as much as Claude does) translucent blue eyes and his love of life and his art. I love his lopey walk and his colourful clothing. The first time I watched TI, I did so all the way through, but subsequent viewings (as with most of Richard’s shows) were undertaken with my finger on the fast forward button. For this rewatch though, I didn’t skip any scenes. The cinematography is lush, and I enjoy seeing the gardens at Giverny. The flashback storytelling doesn’t bother me, as long as there is a clear demarcation between past and present, which there was here.

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    • Yes, indeed. The ‘lush cinematography’ is one of the highlights of this production. It’s wonderful to see something that’s so visually appealing. ♥️

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    • “Luminous smile” indeed. The whole thing was really luminous, whether you like impressionism or not. I was surprised how much I liked the show, given that I had convinced myself beforehand that I didn’t want to like it…

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  11. I love The Impressionists. Richard Armitage as an optimistic happy full of life artist is a joy, even more so than the lovable Harry Kennedy. It’s also the most expensive DVD I’ve ever purchased (adding that to the fan quiz #A). I enjoyed Julian Glover, who’s a scifi fantasy treasure in his own way. He’s an old man looking back on his life, remembering his joys and sorrows. It may not be original but at my age I’m looking back at a lot of regrets myself. Both Armitage and Glover were shocked when I showed them that DVD and made comments about it. Glover then proceeded to tell some wonderful stories of filming in Monet’s gardens. Both signed it for me. I’d post a photo of it if I could figure out how to do that here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, tell us more about that DVD and the encounter with both RA and Glover. Why were they shocked? As in: “oh, that is so long ago…”?
      (To show a picture in the comments, here is what you can do: You could tweet the picture over on Twitter and then simply embed your tweet here in the comments. You only need to copy the link to your tweet and paste it here. Then the whole tweet appears in the comment thread.)

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      • Mr. Glover signed it when I met him in Houston in 2016. He asked where did I get that. I don’t know if he was surprised to see a 10 yr. old DVD or that he saw it in Houston Texas. A few months later I met Mr. A after his LLL performance. He said he hadn’t seen that show in years and those notorious eyebrows were raised in surprise. Here’s the DVD…I hope.

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        • Fab! Thank you for recounting the story of the autograped DVD, Tommie! I suppose the whole show was never a massive commercial success, and maybe that was also a reason why they were surprised that anyone should have a DVD of it… Well, we, the fans, never forget, right? *grins*

          Liked by 1 person

  12. I agree with everything you said in your review Guylty and with most of the commenteers. It’s uplifting to see RA bright-eyed, vivacious, animated, not weighed-down with the world – and yes, smiling! Funny that he has now played two Claudes – I doubt this name is in any danger of overtaking John though. RA’s luminous beauty shines through, despite the straggly hair and beard (which I too crop out as much as possible).
    It’s great how The Impressionists opens with the puffing train and Richard Armitage on the credits referring back to N&S (I wonder if the scenes were shot at the Bluebell Railway).
    As a drama The Impressionists is OK but yes I could do without Julian Glover, who is just playing Julian Glover and bears little relation to younger Monet – although Glover didn’t look ludicrously dissimilar in his youth to RA.
    The close friendships with Bazille and Rénoir are really touching and, yes, it is impossible to ignore the blooper reel (oh I wish we had more RA bloopers). It surprised me as I didn’t notice before that the laughter was partly in the scene. The acting is rather patchy otherwise, the disdainful salon monsters in particularly unconvincing but Degas is a very charismatic character. One bug-bear of mine is that I simply cannot abide British (or American) actors playing other nationalities but still speaking with their own accents. I know this isn’t a popular view and it is illogical because to be authentic they wouldn’t be speaking English anyway, I understand all the arguments, but I wish actors would attempt it even though it might be insultingly unconvincing – it would be preferable to someone saying “Monsieur” in, say, a Yorkshire or Scottish accent and we would have the joy of RA speaking French.
    The cinematography is beautifully lush and vivid and the device of merging the scenes into the paintings works really well. Impressionism isn’t my favourite art movement but I was really struck this time by Rénoir’s astonishingly life-like sun-dappled trees in Fontainebleau – wow.

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    • Lovely review, dreamer. And such an interesting point re. actors playing other nationalities but using their own accents. I think there is no doubt that the logical thing is for the actors to speak with a kind of standard accent in their mother tongue. But yeah, for the few foreign words that will invariably be thrown in, they should get some language training and be able to say Rrrrrrrhennnnnoahhhhhhhrrrr correctly 😉 Not sure whether I *really* want to hear RA in another language, though. I already get pissed off when he speaks American, and I got sidetracked and annoyed when he spoke German. That wouldn’t happen if he spoke French, but nonetheless I susspect I’d be mega critical, waiting for any sliip-ups. So no, I just want him to speak English with English accents.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I watched it again. More enjoyable than I remembered, though the flashback parts are more tedious than I remembered. More than a few times the voice-over narration of “old man” Monet droned on over scenes that were adequately acted out for the viewer to understand, but no, the narrator would man-splain them for you, just in case you are a dolt–sometimes over on-screen shots of RA. Shut up, old man, I want to concentrate on the beautiful actor! I’d be very pleased if a fangirl would make an RA-only cut of this production that chops out all the other artists and old man Monet. I don’t care if the remaining story/plot are indecipherable.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Late to the party, but here goes. I really love the look and feel of TI. I think they did a wonderful job with light and colour, blurring the leaves, and making us see the world the way the impressionist painters must have seen it. I am not a visual artist at all, but I really felt as if I might have seen a glimpse inside their heads.

    Richard was so cute… young and gangly. I don’t mind the hair, really, and it is certainly better than long-haired depressed Porter! (IMO) As for the scraggly beard, I think it was very appropriate for conveying a young man who wants to look mature but can’t quite grow a full beard yet. Also, have you seen pictures of Monet as a young man? The beard is not so far off … https://lisawallerrogers.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/photo-undated-claude-monet-1860-photo-carjat-and-camille-doncieux.png

    I really love the joy that Armitage exudes as Monet, with his infectious laugh and smile seeming to be on the verge of something mischievous. I agree that more roles where he gets to be happy are what we need!

    I thought it was funny when his friend said, “What happened to your limp?” when Monet ran down the stairs to meet Camille. And the kiss at around 39:49 IMO rivals the famous N&S kiss!

    Thanks for hosting the rewatch discussion!

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    • Oh hey, thanks for linking to that picture of Monet as a young man. A bit of a looker! It’s good to see that the producers evidently tried to stay close to the real person. And RA fits the bill very nicely. He is very convincing, playing a sensitive artist. There is something, even in RA’s facial features and despite the impressive nose, that is somehow delicate and fragile. Even to this day, I think.
      I have to check out that kiss again.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Good to read that this holds up well for you! I really do like the impressionist style and Monet, I used to have a Monet poster hanging in my bedroom for many years in my late teens/early twenties (this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impression,_Sunrise#/media/File:Monet_-_Impression,_Sunrise.jpg)
    When my son was 2 months old Mr Esther & I travelled to France in a camper van with him and visited Giverny and now that experience too is very much connected to my affection for Monet. I still have this image in my head of me sitting on a bench under a tree in Monet’s garden with my baby boy in my arms. it was quiet (we went in September, after the summer rush), very few people around. I had just breastfed him and he was lying in my arms, looking up, fascinated by the rustling of the leaves above us. I was looking down at my baby, totally in love with watching him disover the world around him. I always wish I had an artistic bone in my body, because in my mind I can imagine that scene being an impressionst painting itself and I wish I could paint that memory. Very fitting little scene in Monet’s garden.
    So, when Richard played the role of Monet a few years later, I was really pleased and I still love that he did that. He’s gone on to a darker career after that but I would still very much love to see Richard do more light-hearted stuff as well.

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    • What a lovely story, Esther. I can well imagine that Monet, Giverny and the Impressionists hold a very special memory for you. I can just see the whole scene in my mind, you have described it so well. How nice that Richard added to this scene for you. Very special!

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