Finding Vivian Maier

Welcome to my third interview going over the Oscar Nominations for Best Documentary! The first two I looked at were Virunga and Citizenfour, and now to continue my “random order” with Finding Vivian Maier.

I don’t know who this lady is, but I have heard she is missing and they made a documentary about it. Sort of like Finding Bigfoot. I don’t just say that because Vivian was a tall woman either.

The story starts with a guy, John Maloof, our narrator and co-director, being an auction hound. He buys random junk hoping to find treasure, and he ended up buying a large lot of unknown stuff which features a lot of undeveloped photographs. When he gave them the old lookie-loo, he found them to be pretty darn good. Classic old black and white pictures. But who is she? Where is she? Why did her work go unnoticed?

Vivian Ma
I mean. She is right there. How hard could she be to find?

John is able to get Vivian’s work in galleries and it makes people go crazy. They love it and they love the mystery. Well, it turns out that Vivian was a socially awkward nanny. So he was able to find a lot of people she worked for, parents or kids, find old friends, landlord, and piece together her entire life, until she eventually died.

And what a life she had! She did…well. I obviously won’t tell you. The discovery/journey is the whole point. Can see her highs, her lows, her quirks, and her troubled times.

And despite the silly subject, about a passion/hobby/type of career I don’t even care a lot, I loved this documentary. It was so creative, it told a great story, so many people were interviewed and her life through her camera and social awkwardness is now super available for everyone to enjoy. It probably would have pissed her off too, knowing that. But hey, shut up. I am enjoying the shit out Vivian, even if I don’t super love her photography.

A great documentary, not as great as Citizenfour, but still great.

4 out of 4.

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