Georgia O'Keeffe

Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Georgia O'Keeffe Movie Poster Image
Biopic more about turbulent relationship than art.
  • NR
  • 2010
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Shows a woman in a man's world, holding her own and making her opinions known, but it also shows the affects of a tumultuous adult relationship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Georgia O'Keeffe is one of the most famous female artists of all time, so naturally, she is a role model.  But her life was not always a happy one. Alfred is a bully and a narcissist who cheats on his wives.

Violence

Some of the arguments between Georgia and Alfred get rather heated, ending in emotional breakdowns and very hurt feelings.

Sex

Alfred takes nude photographs of Georgia, for which she poses with her back to the audience. The photos are displayed in Alfred's gallery, and photos of Georgia's nude body are shown briefly.

Language

Some language including "bastards and "pissing."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink at art openings, get drunk at bars, and smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this biographical movie focuses more on the tumultuous relationship between two lovers than on the artist in her own right. Some nudity (in the form of artistic nude female photos being taken and then displayed) and adult situations might prove too mature for younger viewers.

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What's the story?

When Georgia O'Keeffe (Joan Allen) walked into a gallery in New York City and admonished the gallery owner for hanging her paintings without asking her permission, the gallery owner, Alfred Stieglitz (Jeremy Irons) wooed her into allowing him to represent her. He continues to woo her in other ways as well, eventually leaving his wife of 25 years for the young artist from Wisconsin. The two lovers marry, and begin a turbulent partnership that defined their careers. As Georgia becomes more famous, Alfred becomes more controlling. He eventually cheats on her, breaking her heart, but sending her into a period of exploration that becomes her trademark years in New Mexico. Their lives are irrevocably intertwined, however, and Alfred charms his way into her life just to tear her to pieces once more.

Is it any good?

This dramatic, effusive interpretation of Georgia O'Keeffe's life focuses more on her relationships than on her art. Sure, she sasses her patron, telling him to leave her alone when she is working, but his narcissistic behavior takes a toll on her to the point where O'Keeffe suffers a nervous breakdown. A little less schmaltz and a little more substance would have benefited this otherwise eye-catching portrait. Fans of the artist will enjoy this jaunt into her private life, but a visit to the museum will do more to scratch the connoisseur's itch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it was like to be a woman in Georgia O'Keeffe's time. Sure these characters seem free spirited, but were women really allowed liberties like speaking their minds in 1912?

  • Alfred posts photos of Georgia's nude body in his gallery without asking her permission, and makes her into a celebrity. How is instant celebrity (whether wanted or unwanted) a lot more common today?

  • What makes a healthy partnership? What are the functional aspects of Alfred and Georgia's relationship? In which ways is their relationship unhealthy?

Movie details

For kids who love the art world and dramas

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