Finding Vivian Maier (2013)


Director: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel

Cast: John Maloof, Phil Donahue, Mary Ellen Mark, Joel Meyerowitz, Tim Roth

Screenplay: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel

83 mins. Not Rated.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Documentary, Feature


Each year, I find at least one strange documentary that really pulls me in. As a film nominated for this past Academy Awards, Finding Vivian Maier was that documentary. It tells the story of John Maloof who comes across cases of film negatives at an auction and discovers they belonged to an incredibly inspired photographer named Vivian Maier. As Maloof searches through her past, he discovers that Maier’s photos are almost as mysterious as her life was.


This documentary reminded me a lot of Searching for Sugar Man from a few years back. It is the story of a fan and his search to uncover the truth of an unknown artist. As layers are peeled back from Maier’s life, I was confused and yet still more intrigued. This is an excellent documentary on multiple levels. My one complaint is that I still don’t know if I know Vivian Maier by the end, or if I ever knew her. Perhaps that is the point of the film.


Finding Vivian Maier is a strange film. It pulled me in, messed with my perceptions, and dropped me off with a lot more questions than answered, and yet, I enjoyed every minute of it, from Maloof’s inciting curiosity to the art show he organizes.



-Kyle A. Goethe

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