The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Director: Will Sharpe
Year Released: 2021
Rating: 2.0

Fanciful - if underdeveloped - biopic of twitchy artist Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), who lives in a house full of women, has a difficult time trying to make enough money for everyone (none of his sisters are married) and then falls in love with their governess Miss Richardson (Claire Foy) - much to society's dismay, apparently - but she passes away due to cancer ... and then he loses his own mind.  Cumberbatch really is drawn to outsiders and oddballs - or maybe casting directors immediately think of him when the roles come up, who knows? - and he's certainly very good at playing those types, but the movie regards mental illness as a dazzling psychedelic dreamworld instead of a living nightmare.  In his time - with the limited medical knowledge they had - Louis was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but director Sharpe makes it look more like he was possibly autistic.  Having worked with some children with that challenging condition, I can only give my deepest sympathies to their families.  At least we got some nifty cats-on-acid out of the whole ordeal....