Pollock (film)

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Pollock imp.jpg
Film poster
Directed byEd Harris
Screenplay by
Based onJackson Pollock: An American Saga
by Steven Naifeh
Gregory White Smith
Produced byPeter M. Brant
CinematographyLisa Rinzler
Edited byKathryn Himoff
Music byJeff Beal
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • September 6, 2000 (2000-09-06) (VFF)
  • December 15, 2000 (2000-12-15) (United States)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$10.5 million[1]

Pollock is a 2000 American independent biographical drama film centered on the life of American painter Jackson Pollock, his struggles with alcoholism, as well as his troubled marriage to his wife Lee Krasner. The film 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. 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 reading of the 1989 biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga, written by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.


In the 1940s, abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock exhibits paintings in occasional group art shows.

Pollock lives with his brother Sande and sister-in-law Arloie at a tiny apartment in New York City. With Arloie expecting a new baby, Pollock decides to move out on her behalf. Soon afterward, Pollock meets and takes an interest in artist Lee Krasner. He learns later that his brother has taken a job in Connecticut building military gliders to avoid the draft.

Pollock, a struggling alcoholic, goes on a drinking binge and is found in a disheveled state by Sande and Lee to which Sande tells Lee that Pollock has been diagnosed as "clinically neurotic." Taking pity on Pollock, Lee takes him home and becomes his manager.

One day, Pollock's old friend Reuben Kadish visits him, bringing along Howard Putzel, who works for wealthy art collector Peggy Guggenheim. After Guggenheim views his work, he is given a contract to exhibit his paintings, plus a commission to paint a 8 ft by 20 ft mural in her New York townhouse entry way. Pollock's first exhibit fails to attract any buyers. After a New Year's Eve party, a drunken Pollock almost sleeps with Peggy. Afterwards, he falls into another stupor upon hearing that Putzel has died.

Pollock and Lee are wed after Lee says they either marry or "split up" before moving to Long Island. During a get-together at Peggy's, Pollock dismisses art critic Clement Greenberg's comments and refuses to change his painting style to be more marketable. Pollock's paintings are not selling but Clement assures him it will change after a Life magazine article about him is published and his upcoming exhibit.

Pollock and Lee's relationship is strained after he openly flirts with another woman. Meanwhile, to earn more income, Pollock tries various occupations but fails due to his alcoholism. He lies to Sande about his financial status, though this improves after the Life story about him is published. Later, cinematographer Hans Namuth films Pollock as he paints, though Namuth's presence interrupts the spontaneous nature of his work. Pollock, who tried abstaining from alcohol, inadvertently ruins Thanksgiving dinner upon relapsing.

In medias res to the events of the film, Pollock autographs a copy of the Life magazine to a fan at an art exhibit in 1950. Five years after the exhibit, Clement tells Pollock that the Partisan Review is favoring artist Clyfford Still, saying that his original technique could be the next direction of modern art.

A drunk Pollock reacts badly, becoming angrier when Lee berates him for his drinking and womanizing. By this moment, Pollack's marriage to Lee has become even more strained due to her refusal to conceive children with him, all of which has led Pollock to start an extramarital affair with teenage abstract artist Ruth Kligman.

In 1956, following a conversation with Lee over the phone while she’s in Venice, Pollock tells Ruth "I owe the woman something." On a subsequent visit, Ruth brings along her friend Edith before the three go for a drive. However, an intoxicated Pollock crashes the car; killing himself, Edith, and throwing Ruth into a ditch, seriously injuring her. Closing titles state that Lee never remarried following Pollock's death.



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 longtime passion project for Ed Harris.[2] After his father gave him a copy of Pollock's biography, he started thinking about adapting it, 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]


Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards[6] Best Actor Ed Harris Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Marcia Gay Harden Won
Awards Circuit Community Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Ed Harris Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Marcia Gay Harden Nominated
Camerimage Golden Frog Lisa Rinzler Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards[7] Best Supporting Female Marcia Gay Harden Nominated
National Society of Film Critics Awards[8] Best Supporting Actress 3rd Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards[9] Best Supporting Actress Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards[10] Best Actor Ed Harris Nominated
Satellite Awards[11] Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards[12] Best Male Performance Won
World Soundtrack Awards[13] Discovery of the Year Jeff Beal Nominated


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[14]


  1. ^ a b "Pollock". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  2. ^ Sony Pictures production notes. "Pollock". Archived from the original on 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
  3. ^ a b Interview with Ed Harris at DVDtalk
  4. ^ "Pollock (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  5. ^ "Pollock". Metacritic.
  6. ^ "The 73rd Academy Awards (2001) Nominees and Winners". Oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  7. ^ "36 Years of Nominees and Winners" (PDF). Independent Spirit Awards. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  8. ^ "Past Awards". National Society of Film Critics. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  9. ^ "2000 New York Film Critics Circle Awards". New York Film Critics Circle. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  10. ^ "5th Annual Film Awards (2000)". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  11. ^ "International Press Academy website – 2001 5th Annual SATELLITE Awards". Archived from the original on 1 February 2008.
  12. ^ "TFCA Awards 2001". torontofilmcritics.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-06.
  13. ^ "World Soundtrack Awards". World Soundtrack Awards. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  14. ^ Pollock Soundtrack TheOST. Retrieved February 1, 2014

External links[edit]