A new film about cats, created by an illustrator who became obsessed with cats, was recently released in November 2021, providing all-too-rare cinematic fodder for cat enthusiasts.
Now streaming on Prime Video, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain delves deep into the life of eccentric illustrator and cat enthusiast Louis Wain, exposing the man behind the art as well as the push to make cats more accessible to the general public.
Louis Wain (5 August 1860 – 4 July 1939) is best known for his anthropomorphic portrayals of cats and kittens, which he created in the late 1800s. He’s best known for playing a key role in transforming the common perception of cats in England, at a time when they were viewed as barn mice rather than home cats. Wain’s endearing pictures and outspoken views aided in the adoption of cats as pets and family members. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Wain
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Wain, exudes an odd, seductive allure. Cumberbatch portrays the awkward and quirky illustrator who lives with his bohemian mother and five sisters as the only guy in the house. He is supposed to provide as the man of the house, which he accomplishes by sketching various creatures.
Louis and his wife, Emily (played by Claire Foy) rescue a dapper little kitten they name Peter, who becomes Wain’s greatest artistic inspirations. From nursery books and greeting cards to magazine and newspaper spreads, Wain’s home and life become overrun with feline imagery.
In his later years he may have suffered from schizophrenia (although this claim is widely disputed among many specialists if this was true or not), which, according to some psychiatrists, can be seen in his works. Beautifully played with gentle, compassionate precision by Cumberbatch, Wain is portrayed through subtle changes in the character’s perspective.
Cat enthusiasts will enjoy the film’s glimpse of feline lore, which includes numerous opportunity to drool over shots of cats and kittens.
Wain created a cat style, a cat society, and a whole cat universe. Wander into Wain’s cat world and have a look around. An utterly delightful and charming movie!
Released on November 5, 2021. Check out the trailer here: