‘Stanley And His Daughters’ transmits on BBC 4 on Sunday 4th February at 10pm
Critics Choice – Saturday Times
“It takes a while to adjust to the spare feel of this poignant, minor key Arena exploring the sisters’ relationship, as Unity, 87, boxes up her life in London and moves to Wales to be close to Shirin, 91. Yet it’s worth it – not just as an insight into one of our most singular artists, but as a portrait of elderly life, of reconciling oneself to the past, present and future.”
“It’s a huge achievement, observing without judgement two ornery elderly women as they come to terms with their complicated pasts and the fact that true artistic greatness comes at a price, often paid by the nearest and dearest. Adorned by George Taylor’s discreet piano accompaniment, it’s a welcome return to the quirkier, profound Arena of years past.”
5 STARS – Financial Times Weekend
“Elderly sisters Shirin and Unity would still be eminently worth watching even if they weren’t related to the artist Stanley Spencer.”
Pick of the Day – The Guardian
Pick of the Day – The Telegraph
“This fascinating film about the artist Stanley Spencer and his two daughters, Shirin and Unity. What follows is a complex and complicated story of art, betrayal, love and loss.”
“A documentary masterpiece” – Craig Brown
4 STARS – The Mail on Sunday
Critics Choice – Sunday Times
“There is a sweetness at the heart of this documentary that lies in the sisters’ commitment to each other, no matter how complicated their relationship, but this redemption is undercut by the film’s darker theme: the damage that adults – visionary artists or not – leave behind for their children to clear up.”
Arena: Stanley and His Daughters (BBC4) is an extraordinary documentary.
Francis Hanly made this strange, moving, funny, sad film just in time.
‘Stanley and his Daughters’ told the remarkable story of two elderly sisters, estranged for much of their lives but determined to build bridges before it was too late.