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TIFF 2021: “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain”


Rating: 4 out of 5.

A true artist never connects with the real world. In fact, he/she creates one’s own where all others can join in to admire the brilliance of their craft.

Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch) is extremely talented. He is qualified to do all sorts of jobs, if he wishes to. His mind is in chaos, constantly in the creative world and the one way he can control it is by moving as fast as he can. When he lands a job at the London News, as a part time illustrator, he turns the life of everyone into a cat’s world, while he himself keeps existing in madness. While others found no joy in pain and vain, and would fall into depression, Louis would create art of perfection which he would not be able to otherwise, if he was like everyone else.

Louis is the one who supports his family, of sisters. He has many. But his mind, despite being amazingly rich, large and always evolving, he could not financially sustain it. When he meets the new governess, Emilia Richardson (Claire Foy) for his young sisters, his world turns upside down as he falls for her so deeply, he could not imagine living without her. When they tie the knot and later on find a little kitten they called Peter, Louis begins to draw beautiful images of cats, bringing them out of the shadow and into the light, where the whole world would be amazed by their cuddliness, kindness and beauty.

“The Electrical Life of Louis Waine” perfectly recreates the Victorian era where the costumes and amazing make-up turn this film into an absolute joy to watch. At times funny, hilarious, goofy and intelligent, the film has all the right ingredients to make it stunningly attractive. With impressive performances from the entire cast, the film delivers a poignant story of a man who had only one purpose in life – to capture the beauty of the world and show it to everyone.

That being said, “The Louis Waine” film, of course, is based on a true story that’s delivered with charm, innocence and madness at the same time. It recreates the chaotic world of Louis Waine, rather an electrical world of his, where he sticks to it to deliver and provide the world with the love he felt towards cats. But all that was done in the dearest memory of his wife, Emily, and he will continue to create, to live and go beyond his time. Now, tell me, isn’t that marvellous?

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