Kate Winslet's biopic about Lee Miller premieres at Toronto film festival

Kate Winslet as Lee Miller in Lee
Kate Winslet as Lee Miller in the movie "Lee" (Image credit: Toronto International Film Festival)

Kate Winslet’s passion project Lee starring the Titanic actress herself as photographer Lee Miller just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival - but not everyone is blown away by the actress's latest offering. While the BBC has attributed it to Kate Winslet as “scoring her best ever role”, The Guardian describes it as a musty biopic accompanied by a measly 2-star rating.

Based on the 1985 book The Lives of Lee Miller by Antony Penrose, Lee tells the story of how Miller, a former Vogue cover model, turned fashion photographer ended up as a photographer in Europe during the Second World War. 

Born in 1907, Lee Miller was known as one of life's adventurers, she partied with the likes of artists and painters during her early career before swapping her decadent life for one filled with danger.

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Miller started working for Vogue London as a war photographer in 1940 when she was living with the art dealer Roland Penrose, whom she later married. Her first assignment was to document the nurses working at army bases in Oxford but she went on to travel to France where she captured the first use of napalm at the Siege of St Malo, the Battle of Alsace, and the horrors of several Nazi concentration camps. 

Ella Kuras (who did the screenplay for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind starring Winslet and Jim Carrey) makes her feature directional debut although she can be credit to the project's existence too. It was her sending of The Lives of Lee Miller to Winslet that got the cogs turning and more than eight years later their hard work has finally come to fruition. 

Alongside Winslet stars Aleksandar Skarsgaard as Roland Penrose, Marion Cotillard as Solange D’Ayen, Andrea Riseborough as Audrey Withers, and unconventionally, Andy Samberg as David E. Scherman. 

Solarized portrait of Lee Miller taken by Man Ray in around 1929 (Image credit: Alamy)

Sean Duggan (known for his role in The Lobster and Herself) takes on the role of Man Ray - the American surrealist artist who photographed Miller in some of his best-known images, while Enrique Arce becomes the painter, Pablo Picasso. 

Now that we’ve read the reviews, we’re even more intrigued to find out what this film has in store. Has The Guardian written an unfairly scathing review or has the BBC been overly generous with its 4-star rating? With such a stellar cast and crew, we are leaning towards The Guardian being slightly harsh, and after all, has Winslet ever made a truly awful film? 

All we have to go off so far is a few stills from the movie but we're hoping the trailer will be with us soon as the film is set for release on November 17. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.