Reviews for Friends #1 Finding Vivian Mair
I initially read about this film in Harper’s Bazaar, and it immediately caught my imagination – tapping right into my penchant for nosiness…
Finding Vivian Mair is a powerful personal portrait of a stranger, an eccentric – a secretive nanny with an undiscovered talent in street photography.
Director, John Maloof, essentially takes on the role of self-appointed private detective when he happens upon a collection of her negatives at auction. And very well done on Maloof for answering the call of fate, devoting himself to the challenge of opening this undiscovered work to the light.
It puts me in mind of a cinematic Who Do You Think You Are, with bite!
The film maps out Maloof’s journey as he uncovers more of Mair’s work, meets those few who knew her and discovers more about the woman behind the camera. It is well researched and beautifully put together, with a real build up of suspense. The end result is a magical, curious documentary handled with integrity and balance, and ultimately really quite moving.
Indulgent and nostalgic, without crossing the line into over-sentimentality, Finding Vivian Mair is a poignant piece exploring human nature, and I would heartily recommend catching it while you can (and not just for those with an interest in photography).