The past three days have been a pretty miserable time for me. Sinus headaches and sinus issues are never fun, and being unable to write and work makes it worse. What else could I do but lay in bed, read some, and watch a few movies like The Electrical Life of Louis Wain?
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
As I searched for something to watch on various streaming platforms, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain appeared on my Prime Video screen. Most likely, it appeared because my wife and I have been watching Sherlock Holmes, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Praise the algorithm gods, I suppose.
So I decided to give it a go, and I am glad I did because this movie is a true story that was superbly delivered by a cast of talented actors. Read on for my review of The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.
THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain
- Benedict Cumberbatch: Louis Wain
- Claire Foy: Emily Richardson-Wain
- Andrea Riseborough: Caroline Wain
- Toby Jones: Sir William Ingram
- Sharon Rooney: Josephine Wain
- Aimee Lou Wood: Claire Wain
- Hayley Squires: Marie Wain
- Stacy Martin: Felicie Wain
- Phoebe Nicholls: Mrs. Wain
- Adeel Akhtar: Dan Rider
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. In 1881, 18 months after his father’s death, Louis Wain, the only male and eldest of the Wain family, became the primary breadwinner. He supports five sisters and his mother working part-time as an illustrator for The Illustrated London News under editor Sir William Ingram. Ingram offers him a full-time job, but Wain declines to try his hand at composing music and playwriting, which he hopes will support the family, but neither venture is successful.
Louis hires Emily Richardson to be the new governess for his sisters. The two become instantly attracted to each other, much to the dismay of the eldest sister, Caroline. Louis decides to take the full-time position to keep Emily as the governess. One night, Louis takes the family and Emily to the theatre to see The Tempest as an educational trip. She comforts Louis in the men’s restroom after he has a recurring nightmare about drowning during the performance but inadvertently causes a scandal when nosy neighbor Mrs. DuFrane tells people about the incident. Embarrassed, Caroline fires her that night. Before she can leave, Louis professes his love for her, and they begin a courtship.Wikipedia
Benedict Cumberbatch is cast in the lead role of Louis Wain, while Claire Foy takes the role of Wain’s ill wife, Emily Richardson-Wain. I’ve always been fond of Cumberbatch as an actor. My wife and I are currently consuming his Sherlock series, which we very much enjoy.
Cumberbatch has excellent versatility in him, balanced with his personality. My wife commented that his portrayal of Louis Wain reminded her of his Sherlock role. It is clearly there, but I think that’s more Cumberbatch than either Wain or Sherlock coming through the performance.
Cumberbatch’s work in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain was fabulous. He could convey his character’s many emotions throughout the film: wonder, curiosity, fear, sadness, helplessness, love, anger, pain, or joy. I Cumberbatch delivered an outstanding performance that connected you to the character bringing out the audience’s empathy, connection, and love for Louis Wain.
And while I previously referred to Cumberbatch as having the lead role, this movie is a shared endeavor. Claire Foy’s portrayal of Emily Richardson-Wain was fantastic. She equally poured herself into the character and was able to connect with the audience on an emotional level that The Electrical Life of Louis Wain needed.
She delivered an emotional performance of a woman struggling to accept herself as more than those around her were seeing her. And if that wasn’t enough weight, she finds out she has a terminal illness with little time to live. Foy’s ability to convey the softness and caring of Richardson-Wain was one of the highlights of this film.
The entire cast of The Electrical Life of Louis Wain was fantastic, but one more shout-out should go to Toby Jones’s portrayal of Sir William Ingram. I love Toby Jones, he’s been in many movies, and I was overjoyed to see Toby in a role like this. He was fantastic!
Finally, Peter, the cat, was an integral part of this film. Without him, this movie would not have been as good as it was.
Overall, the casting for The Electrical Life of Louis Wain was spectacular, with everyone delivering splendid performances.
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain production was excellent. The film opens up with H.G. Wells reading a piece about Louis Wain while the camera pans to Wain as an old man. This is followed by narration that lays the ground for the rest of the film.
The film jumps right into Wain’s silly adventures that he takes to capture moments at events by illustrating them. Such as confronting a bull to get a closer look so he could illustrate it better. Of course, the bull doesn’t take too kindly to the intrusion into its space.
Wain was an illustrator, among other things, and he provided newspapers with illustrations. The camera hadn’t become a thing yet, though that does come into play later.
The film moves at an excellent pace, providing all the needed information and scenes to move the plot forward without confusing you or being too slow. The story was well adapted, and the writers made the Wains and their family very interesting.
The costumes, sets, and camera work in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain were excellent; the director brought the feel of Victorian England to the film very well.
Overall, the production of this film was outstanding. From acting, writing, directing, and cinematography, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain was brilliant.
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is a must-watch. I had never heard of Louis Wain until this movie, but I now appreciate his cat art. The film is rated PG-13; there is no nudity and maybe a few curse words. Kids sensitive to trauma and seeing people ill or dying may want to avoid it—some heavy topics aside from cancer, such as losing one’s mind. I’d encourage parents to watch first and make their determination from there.
Overall, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is a fabulous telling of a true story.