Timothy Spall delves into the rich inner life of LS Lowry, famed for his pictures of ‘matchstick men’ in the industrial towns of the North West. A middle-aged council clerk who spends his time painting in an attic room, his life is dominated by his relationship with his domineering and bitter mother, Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave on superb form).
Ending her days in resentment of the low station life has led her to, she admonishes Lowry for his lack of talent and coarse subject matter. Yet we see a man alive to the power of invention, beguiled by the world around him.
Two of Britain’s best actors are at the top of their game in this biopic. Spall – having given us his interpretation of another great of painting, JM Turner – gives Lowry his dignity, even while on the receiving end of Redgrave’s brilliant savagery.