Portrait of young artist is a picture of skepticism

Review B

November 30, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

When 4-year-old Marla Olmstead burst upon the international art scene from her hometown of Binghamton, N.Y., in 2004, TV stations and newspapers pictured her as a happy bundle of talent and paradox. A shy child with a sparkling smile and an unspoiled little-girlishness, she appeared to express herself in swirling abstractions with big, surprisingly seductive movements and fine, sensitive finishing touches.

Amir Bar-Lev's My Kid Could Paint That documents how her father, Mark, a night manager at a Frito-Lay factory and an unpretentious amateur artist, and Anthony Brunelli, an ambitious photo-realist painter, exulted in her success during and after a wildly popular show at Brunelli's Binghamton gallery. Marla soon veers from fame to notoriety. And the journey becomes as frustrating as it is engrossing for director Bar-Lev and even more so for the audience.

My Kid Could Paint That (Sony Pictures Classics) A documentary by Amir Bar-Lev. Rated PG-13. Time 82 minutes.

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