Before Monet and Renoir- before The Impressionists- there was Turner, one of the greatest of all English painters. J.M.W. Turner was in love with light and what it could do to buildings and cities, to the sea and ships, to the mountains and the countryside.

Mike Leigh, focusing on the artist as a middle aged man, finds a strange, anti-social mumbler, far more comfortable with his paint and canvas, than social niceties demanded by the era.