This attentive and good-looking doc takes a chronological approach to the work and partnership of Charles Eames and his wife Ray, two of the most influential artist-designers of mid twentieth-century America. It’s the pair’s slinky chairs that have endured most in the popular imagination, but this film reminds us of the variety of their work from the 1940s to the ’70s as the husband-and-wife team applied film, design, art and architecture to projects for everyone from IBM and Polaroid to the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959. This well-illustrated account of the Eames’s working and personal relationship is given extra weight by the number of friends, family and colleagues who contribute. Issues of credit (co-designers had to take a back seat), chauvinism (Charles was the boss) and adultery (he had a younger mistress) are gently handled but not ignored, while the film tries fairly but not unduly to rescue Ray from lingering in the shadow of her husband.
Friday August 3 2012
Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey