A wonderfully crafted film about someone whose art you can admire, but you wouldn't care to know personally. There's nothing that the man himself would have to tell you other than by means of his art. Almost everything else is telling: the period recreation, cinematography, the surrounding characters. I can't imagine why the depiction of a growling, emotionally shut, and totally unappealing character could deserve so much praise. Fifteen minutes into the film we already know who he is, and the remaining 135 we just have to bear him (pun unintended). The exploration of the social and cultural context of Victorian England effectively makes you appreciate how nice it is not to live then and there, but its subtlety borders on superficiality. To a friend, it felt like a Masterpiece Theatre segment, but it is a very sad movie, and often also very boring.