The tortured artist effect

I reviewed Saving Mr. Banks for Critic’s Notebook, which does that modern thing of explaining art though the artist’s pain, rather than leaving you to experience the stuff on your own terms. It’s also yet another biopic, although on that score fairs better than some of the year’s other calamities.

It’s a strange modern way to interact with art, which has historically been expected to present a mirror to your own personality, rather than provide a hotline to the one buzzing in the head of P. L. Travers. A lot of immortal literature for young people was written by mature individuals with issues, and what does it matter? Look at Enid Blyton; the definitive film about her would have to be made by Wes Craven.


December 13, 2013