Finding Vivian Maier

Film, Documentaries
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Finding Vivian Maier

In life she was an eccentric: a Chicago nanny who took the children she looked after on trips to the city’s rougher neighbourhoods. Her name was Vivian Maier, and this intriguing but slapdash doc uncovers a side of her that friends and employers never saw. It turns out that Maier was a secret street photographer, who used her walks as an excuse to shoot portraits of whoever took her fancy.

Maier’s photographs are stunning – off-the-cuff yet rigorously composed. But this doc’s co-director John Maloof, who discovered an archive of Maier’s work, is irritating. He tries too hard to force her genius on us. Only when the film delves into Maier’s later years – when her behavioural quirks (early signs of mental illness) got the better of her – do we really get a sense of the complex person behind the hidden talent.

By: Keith Uhlich


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday July 18 2014
Duration: 83 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Screenwriter: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
4 people listening
Arabella G
1 of 1 found helpful

Couldn't disagree more with the mediocre three-star rating Time Out gave it. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker calls it "a fine film" and indeed it is. In fact, it's an utterly fascinating film that held my attention throughout and stayed with me for a long time after we left the cinema. It's right up there with Searching for Sugar Man. Highly recommended, you'd be a fool to miss it!

Lee C

I happen to agree with Arabella. I'll admit that John Maloof was inexperienced when he started out on this adventure, but this by no means affects his ability to deliver a fantastic and fascinating feature.

The FT also had the sense to give this five stars so I do hope that timeout doesn't think it's audience less able to enjoy a story like this based on intellectual capacity. I'd recommend this above most of the mass market CGI trash on offer more generally. It's entertaining, emotional and a must watch!