Tom of Finland (2017)

The images created by Tom of Finland may very well be familiar even if, like me, you know nothing about the artist himself. His drawings have influenced modern culture in many recognisable ways since the middle of the last century, but there is even more to the man that this film seeks to reveal.

In true biopic style, the narrative is hampered slightly by having to or trying to cram a lifetime of work, love, life, happiness, sadness etc into an hour and a half. Time races forward, or a flashback conveys an idea, and the viewer can’t help but wonder if some of the difficulties encountered by the subject in his life have been glanced over simply because it isn’t possible to show or tell everything of note.

And yet, despite racing through 50 years in an hour, the film manages to capture the really significant moments of artistic  success very well indeed. There is a very touching moment when Tom realises just how important his work has been to large groups of people he had never even met before. And the occasional reappearance of Tom’s ‘muse’, Kake, is really well-integrated into the narrative just the right amount and at the correct moments.

For once, a biopic from which I actually learned a lot about its subject.

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