Pollock (film)

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Pollock imp.jpg
Film poster
Directed byEd Harris
Produced byPeter M. Brant
Screenplay byBarbara Turner
Susan Emshwiller
Based onJackson Pollock: An American Saga
by Steven Naifeh
Gregory White Smith
StarringEd Harris
Marcia Gay Harden
Tom Bower
Jennifer Connelly
Bud Cort
John Heard
Val Kilmer
Robert Knott
David Leary
Amy Madigan
Sally Murphy
Molly Regan
Stephanie Seymour
Matthew Sussman
Jeffrey Tambor
Sada Thompson
Norbert Weisser
Music byJeff Beal
CinematographyLisa Rinzler
Edited byKathryn Himoff
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • September 6, 2000 (2000-09-06)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$10.5 million[1]

Pollock is a 2000 American biographical film which tells the life story of American painter Jackson Pollock. It stars Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Connelly, Robert Knott, Bud Cort, Molly Regan and Sada Thompson, and was directed by Harris.

Marcia Gay Harden won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for portraying Lee Krasner, Pollock's wife. Ed Harris received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Pollock. The film was a long-term personal project for Harris based on his previous reading of Pollock's 1989 biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga.


The film opens in medias res to abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, autographing illustrations in a copy of Life magazine for a woman at his 1950 art exhibit.

Nine years earlier, Pollock makes a living by exhibiting a painting in occasional group art shows. He is living with his brother Sande and sister-in-law Arloie in a tiny New York apartment. Arloie tells him that they are having a baby, hinting to Pollock that he should move out. Soon afterward, Pollock meets and takes an interest in artist Lee Krasner. Later, at dinner, he learns that his brother is moving to Connecticut to take a job building military gliders to avoid the draft. Unable to handle conflicting feelings, Pollock goes on a drinking binge and is found in a disheveled state by Lee and Sande. Lee learns from Sande that Pollock is diagnosed as "clinically neurotic"; still, Lee takes him home and decides to be his manager.

One day, Pollock's old friend Reuben comes along with Howard Putzel, who works for wealthy art collector Peggy Guggenheim. Guggenheim comes to see his art, and gives him a contract to sell $2400 of paintings, plus a commission to paint a mural of 8 ft by 20 ft on the entrance hall of her New York townhouse. His first exhibit fails to attract any buyers. After a New Year's Eve party, Pollock almost gets in bed with Peggy but is too drunk to properly perform. He falls into another drunken stupor upon hearing that Howard has died. Lee asks Pollock to make a decision: either marry her and continue painting art, or "split up". Pollock surprisingly insists on a church wedding, and Lee says she wants no guests.

Pollock and Lee move to an oceanfront house on Long Island and adopt an abandoned dog whom they name Gyp. Pollock is disheartened when Lee makes clear that she does not want to have a baby. At a get-together at Peggy's, despite art critic Clement Greenberg's comments, he shows that it's hard for him to change his finished painting to others' liking. Pollock's pictures still aren't selling, but Clement assures him that things will change after the Life article and subsequent exhibit. Lee gets jealous when Pollock hugs another woman. Meanwhile, he tries doing other business for a living, but his alcoholism gets in the way. He lies to Sande about his financial status. Pollock's fortunes turn as the Life story is published and he tries to abstain from alcohol. Later, filmmaker Hans Namuth tries to film Pollock as he paints. However, Hans' presence interrupts the spontaneous nature of Pollock's work, making the artist feel like a phony acting it out. He loses patience and, much to Lee's disapproval, begins drinking again and ruins Thanksgiving dinner.

Five years after the 1950 exhibit, Clement tells Pollock that the Partisan Review is favoring Clyfford Still, and that his original technique could be the next direction of modern art. A drunk Pollock does not take it well, and becomes even angrier when Lee berates him for his drinking and womanizing. Pollock argues it's all because she won't have a child. Lee knows he's having an affair with Ruth Kligman, but won't give Jackson a divorce. When she goes to Venice to visit Peggy in 1956, Jackson receives a call from her, after which he tells Ruth, "I owe the woman something". On a subsequent visit, Ruth brings along a friend, Edith Metzger; they go for a drive, but Pollock is drunk and crashes the car, killing himself and Edith, throwing Ruth from the car, who survives.



The film was adapted by Barbara Turner and Susan Emshwiller from the book Jackson Pollock: An American Saga by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. It was directed by Harris.

This film was a long term dream of Ed Harris.[2] After his father gave him a copy of Pollock's biography, he started thinking about the project, which took almost 10 years to bring to fruition.

Filming took a mere 50 days with a six-week layoff after forty days so Harris could take time to gain thirty pounds and grow a beard.[3]

Harris himself did all the painting seen in the film.[3]


Critical response[edit]

Pollock received positive reviews from critics and has a "certified fresh" score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 108 reviews with an average rating of 7/10. The critical consensus states, "Though Pollock does not really allow audiences a glimpse of the painter as a person, it does powerfully depict the creative process. Harris throws himself into the role and turns in a compelling performance."[4] The film also has a score of 77 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 31 critics indicating "generally favorable reviews".[5]

Box office[edit]

Pollock opened on December 15, 2000 in North America in a limited release in 2 theaters and grossed $44,244 with an average of $22,122 per theater and ranking #37 at the box office. The film's widest release was 280 theaters and it ended up earning $8,598,593 domestically and $1,960,377 internationally for a total of $10,558,970.[1]


Marcia Gay Harden won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for portraying Lee Krasner, Pollock's wife.[6] Ed Harris was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.[6]

Harden was also nominated at the Independent Spirit Awards and won at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards while Harris won the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.[6]


The soundtrack to Pollock was released on February 13, 2001.

1."Alone in a Crowd"Jeff Beal2:14
2."Beauty from Pain"Jeff Beal1:55
3."One Man Show"Jeff Beal2:02
4."The Window"Jeff Beal1:37
5."Stroke of Genius"Jeff Beal3:57
6."Plant Your Garden"Jeff Beal2:12
7."Stroke by Stroke"Jeff Beal2:45
8."Breaking the Rules"Jeff Beal2:27
9."Art of This Century"Jeff Beal1:04
10."The Look"Jeff Beal2:45
11."A Life's Work"Jeff Beal1:27
12."Empty"Jeff Beal2:42
13."A Letter from Lee"Jeff Beal1:52
14."The World Keeps Turning"Jeff Beal / Kathleen Brennan / Tom Waits4:14
15."Unfinished"Jeff Beal4:08
16."The Mural Goes on and On"Jeff Beal2:41
17."She Played the Banjo"Jeff Beal4:31
Total length:44:33[7]


  1. ^ a b "Pollock". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  2. ^ Sony Pictures production notes. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2006-12-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b Interview with Ed Harris at DVDtalk
  4. ^ https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/pollock/
  5. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/movie/pollock
  6. ^ a b c IMDB awards
  7. ^ Pollock Soundtrack TheOST. Retrieved February 1, 2014

External links[edit]