Leonie | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


A bio-pic about the early 20th-century proto-feminist, educator and free spirit


Hisako Matsui's recent film is a bio-pic of Leonie Gilmour, whose primary entry in the historical record was being the influential mother of renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi. But the film doesn't forefront this, instead choosing to highlight Gilmour's remarkable life as a proto-feminist, educator and free spirit in the early 20th century. Despite a few confusing jogs in time, the story follows Gilmour (Emily Mortimer) from her Bryn Mawr education through her marriage to Japanese poet Yonni Noguchi (whose work she edited) to her struggles as a divorced, single mother in both California and Japan. Matsui makes the most of what appears to be a small production budget, even finding occasional moments of lyricism, and the capable Mortimer elevates the occasionally trite script.

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