Daily News header

Eames: The Architect & The Painter Film Review

By     get stories by email

Reverential Biopic Chronicles Career of Legendary Designers

Who would have ever predicted that Charles Eames (1907-1978), an architecture school dropout, and Ray Kaiser (1912-1988), an abstract artist who rarely painted, would join forces to spearhead a movement in modern design back in the Forties? But that is precisely what transpired after they married in 1941 and moved to Venice, California, where they opened an office and began creating a new style of furniture blending art and industry.

As Charles put it, "We wanted to make the best for the most for the least." And based upon that utopian dream of providing high-quality, low-cost goods for all, they proceeded to mass-produce a variety of items, starting with their popular, plywood lounge chair. Over the years, the Eames' empire would expand to include everything from photography and films to toys and games to houses and interiors.

architect and painter
Charles Eames, architecture school dropout, and Ray Kaiser, abstract artist who rarely painted, joined forces to spearhead a movement in modern design back in the Forties

A real Renaissance man and woman, they tackled projects as far afield as a splint for wounded soldiers, a solar-powered, do-nothing machine for Alcoa, and the IBM pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Yet, each new invention was still somehow stamped with the iconoclastic couple's trademark, courtesy of their wild, whimsical approach to design.

Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect & The Painter chronicles not only Charles and Ray's storybook career, but also offers an intimate peek into their private life as well. Via a mix of archival footage and interviews with friends and colleagues, it is easy to discern that their affable public personas masked a deep desire for the privacy they routinely retreated to together. A funny sequence in the film features a disappointed dinner guest recalling having once been served an arrangement of inedible flowers instead of dessert by his eccentric hosts.

We also learn that, despite Ray's letting Charles take all of the credit for their accomplishments as was generally expected of women in pre-feminist times, the legendary pair contributed an equal amount of brain power to the enterprise. In terms of accusations leveled by critics that they were too commercial, the Eames never saw themselves as selling out to big business, but rather as using corporations as a means of making beauty and taste available to the average person.

Another factoid worth highlighting is how Charles hated contracts, preferring to seal a deal with a handshake. Plus, the eclectic documentary is stocked with a number of catchy Eames aphorisms like, "Never delegate understanding!" And "Eventually everything connects!"

Congrats to co-directors Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey for fashioning a fascinating biopic as offbeat, engaging and readily-accessible as their endlessly-inventive subjects.

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

Running time: 84 minutes

Distributor: First Run Features

Trailer for Eames: The Architect & The Painter:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

A National Movie is now being cast by the A+ Agency, Rose Casting. To mark Independence Day, Dinesh D'Souza released the film version of his recent book America.
Movie reviewer Prairie Miller interviews Actress, Mandy Moore about Building Better Lives.
Prairie Miller talks to Patricia Arquette about her starring role in a Richard Linklater dramatic feature, contrasting it with the formulaic fluff of Hollywood.
A man with serious anger management issues gets fired for losing his temper on the job, and makes his way to Rittenhouse Square where things go from bad to worse.
But where Neeson was a retired CIA agent, Cage plays a reformed ex-con. And while the former was frantically searching for his missing daughter, the latter is looking for whoever fired a fatal bullet into the head of his daughter. As for the villain
And while the search for balance tends to favor the immense grandeur, dominance and danger of raw nature, the inner life of Mia's emotionally damaged twentysomething female in flight, diminishes in comparison.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site