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My Kid Could Paint That


Stars: None (documentary)

Director: Amir Bar-lev

Four-year-old Marla Omstead, who loves to splash paint on large canvasses and becomes adept at using large brushes as well as her hands to do it, is hailed as an artistic genius. Her paintings sell for thousands. Then a TV programme casts doubts on the authenticity of her work, suggesting that her father, an ethusiastic amateur painter, may have had more than a helping hand in the finished work.

Her paintings stop selling - until her parents produce a DVD showing her painting a canvas from start to finish. However, the finished work is thought by some to be less accomplished than the thousand-dollar sellers. This coverage of the events, more's the pity, comes to no definite conclusion.

This might work well as a Channel 5 documentary on extraordinary people, but it doesn't begin to function as a feature film. Marla's abstract art is striking, but cannot sustain an entire movie. Perhaps we should leave the last word with Marla's mother after the 'debunking' of her daughter's work. 'I caught myself smiling with relef that it was over'. Alas, it wasn't. Marla's canvasses made a comeback and she continues to paint.

Alan Frank

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Sony (Sony Pictures Classics). Colour by Alpha Cine.
84 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 08 Dec 2007