Oscar winner Kate Winslet stars in this fascinating portrait of the great American war correspondent Lee Miller, whose singular talent and ferocious tenacity gave us some of the 20th century’s most indelible images.
The story begins in the South of France, 1938, where Lee Miller is vacationing with her dearest and closest friends who are artists, poets, and confidants. A former model and subject of the avant-garde photographer Man Ray, Lee, now tired of being viewed through a lens by men, is focused exclusively on her own work as a photographer. The threat of war looms and almost overnight everything about their daily lives changes completely. In the midst of the blitz, Lee follows the love of her life, Roland Penrose (Alexander Skarsgård), to London, where she seeks out work as a photographer for British Vogue. Frustrated by the limitations of documenting life on the home front, Lee gains a US war accreditation and heads off to Europe. Alone. After battling her way through the siege of Saint-Malo, Lee joins forces with close friend and fellow photographer David E. Scherman (Andy Samberg). Lee and Scherman capture the liberation of Paris. They sneak into Hitler’s abandoned Munich home — where Scherman captures Miller bathing in der Führer’s tub. They are among the first photographers to enter the camps at Buchenwald and Dachau on the day of the liberation, where Lee crafts a series of horrifying, urgent images that will sear themselves into history. Lee lived her life at full throttle, for which she paid a huge emotional price. Her ferocious search for truth lifted the veil on a deeply buried secret within her own life.
Directed by legendary cinematographer Ellen Kuras, and written by Liz Hannah, John Collee, and Marion Hume, Lee has a taut, transfixing pace, with striking detail throughout. Featuring superb supporting turns from Marion Cotillard, Andrea Riseborough, and Noémie Merlant, the film is a vivid reminder of the bold women who fought to penetrate male-dominated spaces — making great sacrifices and ultimately changing the way we see the world.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: violence, mature themes, frightening scenes, sexual content, nudity