Movies are magical and depictions of art in many different ways. As a documentary, Finding Vivian Maier embodies those characteristics telling the story of the subject in such a way that it feels like you are learning about her at the same time the filmmakers are.
At times the filmmakers, mainly writer and director John Maloof, share information they learned about Maier with people live on camera, thus amplifying the effect of their reaction as it happened.
Maier was a photographer working as a nanny and housekeeper and Maloof, on a whim, purchased some of her negatives at an auction.
The negatives were enough of a glimpse at Maier, her life and work, to lead Maloof on a mission to find out who she was and why she was that way through studying hundreds of thousands of photographs, letters, tapes and more.
Maier had a lot of secrets, even in the way she took photographs of unsuspecting subjects on the street, that people in her life didn’t even know until she passed away.
The study of her work and person in Maloof’s film shows a woman who would have only wanted the attention after she died, or she would have tried to make a career out of her photography.
Films about art and artists are especially interesting to me because they are also an art form in themselves and the two combined, with Finding Vivian Maier as a perfect example, are beautiful to watch.
She is described as eccentric, private, mysterious yet with a dark side from her past that presented a share of struggles as she tried to go through life unnoticed but also to be loved in some way.
Finding Vivian Maier can be considered a tragedy because she never got to experience what other people saw in her work, but again Maloof through his research and those who did know her said she would have preferred it that way.
The film, streaming on Netflix, is worth watching to see Maloof uncover a brilliant artist while at the same time develop his art and a little-known (at least for me) story uncovered over time.
“I supposed nothing is meant to last forever.”