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Mrs Lowry & Son

Country: UK, Language: English, 93 mins

  • Director: Adrian Noble
  • Writer: Martyn Hesford
  • Producer: Debbie Gray

CGiii Comment

Speculation as to L.S. Lowry's sexuality is [to say the least] speculative...although the evidence tends to give an inkling as to his orientation.

Mr Lowry never married, lived with his mother and, at the tender age of 88, he publicly said that he had never been with a woman...nor did he say that he had been with a man...but, alas, that question was never asked.

Adrian Noble certainly has his suspicions...with [just] one brief scene, with [just] one quick look...he - subtlely - makes his opinion known...only to those who can recognise the signs!

This is basically a two-hander between Vanessa Redgrave & Timothy Spall...both punching out knockout complete contrast to each other. Mrs Lowry is a malicious malevolence, her son is a benign bugbear...both co-dependent in their respective solitudes.

Mr Noble adds a restrained quirkiness, it's neither over-powering nor over-used...just the right amount that gives an imagined insight as to how Lowry saw the world and later interpreted those images onto his canvas. Who knows what goes on inside a painter's head...this is a wholly fictional and [mostly] credible [imaginary] attempt to discover what actually made Lowry tick. It is both a joy and a - a times - toil. Not in a bad's just that Mrs Lowry's dotage invokes a cruel vulnerability...she spits venom, snobbery and disappointment. It's harsh.

But...Timothy Spall's playful gentility always wins over. And that is what gives this film such a vital, lived-in edge, those sharp contrasts...between the imagination and the reality, by [both] filmmaker and subject...the result, a mighty fine tribute for a mighty artist.



The(ir) Blurb...

This is the beautiful, delicate, intimate and amusing story of the brittle but vital relationship between L. S. Lowry, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, and his bedridden, unhappy and controlling mother. Engrossing and entertaining, Mrs Lowry & Son offers up a veritable masterclass in acting, with Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall spellbinding as a mother and son separated by art and ambition.

Lowry (Spall), not yet established as an artist, works as a rent collector, walking the streets of Salford, mixing with factory workers and observing the town closely. In the evenings, he takes art classes and paints until the early hours of the morning. He is resolutely loyal and well mannered towards his bitter mother, Elizabeth (Redgrave), who tries to dissuade her bachelor son from pursuing his artistic ambitions and never misses a chance to tell him what a disappointment he is to her.

Adrian Noble’s wonderfully observed film gently reveals how Lowry’s snobbish mother is the obstacle preventing him from fulfilling his artistic ambition, as he desperately tries to create something (whether it be dinner or a painting) that might make her happy. This lovely film is punctuated by delightful moments of humour, as it depicts the impact a bitterly obsessive mother had on one of this country’s greatest artists.

Cast & Characters

Vanessa Redgrave as Elizabeth Lowry
Timothy Spall as L S Lowry
Stephen Lord as Mr. Stanhope
David Schaal as Man In Bath
Wendy Morgan as Mrs. Stanhope
Joanne Pearce as Wife of Man in Bath
Michael Keogh as Mr. Lowry
Jon Furlong as Drunk Man
John Alan Roberts as Art Critic
Laurence Mills as Young Laurie
Kíla Lord Cassidy as Street Girl
Paul Bergquist as Flashback tea guest
Rose Noble as Young Elizabeth
Giselle Cullinane as Bucket Woman
Jennifer Banks as Old Woman