Poster Courtesy of IFC Films

Finding Vivian Maier: A Portrait of an Artist Wrapped in an Enigma

It sounds like an urban legend. A young man, looking for historical pictures buys an unopened box of negatives that turn out to contain thousands of evocative photographs taken by a wildly talented yet completely unknown (and deceased) artist. The young man soon becomes the artist’s archivist and curator, piecing together the mystery that surrounds her seemingly reclusive life…. And then there’s Phil Donahue.

This is the story of “Finding Vivian Maier,” a new documentary that opened in Chicago and NY this weekend and will continue to open in select theaters around the country. [click here to find out when the film is coming to a theatre near you]. The film explores the life of Ms. Maier, from her days “nannying” for affluent families in the Chicago suburbs (including Phil Donahue) to her childhood spent in New York, France and parts unknown. The film also explores how those around her felt; The employers, neighbors, children and friends all of whom saw Ms Maier as odd and eccentric, never realizing that behind the enigmatic facade was a brilliant photographer.

I loved this movie! Director Charlie Siskel weaves a fascinating web of intrigue as he pieces together the life of Maier by interspersing interviews, anecdotes and testimonials about the woman, her art and her reason d’être. The film (much like Maier’s art) captures all sides of humanity, both the good, the bad, the joyful and the tragic and leaves you wanting more.  The film is a fitting tribute to an artist whose legacy is only beginning to unfold ~ and if you can include Phil Donahue in the mix, even better! Run don’t walk to see Finding Vivian Maier, it’s totally worth hiring a babysitter (who knows she might be the next Vivian Maier). xo

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