Saturday movie review: 'Finding Vivian Maier'

I enjoy photography and consider myself a hobbyist photographer. Yet you needn't be a photographer of any degree to appreciate street photographer Vivian Maier's work or FINDING VIVIAN MAIER, the documentary on Maier's mysterious and fascinating story.

 Finding Vivian Maier poster

I hesitate to share many details about FINDING VIVIAN MAIER because the viewer discovers bits and pieces about the now-deceased Maier along the way with narrator/co-director (with Charlie Siskel) John Maloof, the young man who serendipitously acquired her work in an auction. Work he quickly — understandably — became obsessed with.

Vivian Maier's photographs are simply amazing. Simple. Amazing. And heart-tugging. Many times sad. Many times joyous. Many of children, or the downtrodden, or those completely oblivious to the old-time camera capturing their commonplace, everyday moments.

And the vastness of her body of work? It just blows the mind. Incredible. 

I did at one point, after discovering an unsavory bit of information about Maier, tell my husband, "Oh, I don't know that I want to share this story now." But such traits and tales are part of who Vivian Maier was, part of what made her this strange mix of genius and, well, childcare provider. 

The haunting FINDING VIVIAN MAIER has remained on my mind days after watching it. The idea such a treasure could have never been discovered — that Vivian Maier and her work might have never been found and shared — floors me. And it makes me consider how many other such stories there might be (and surely are), how many other amazing artists walk among us, their talents unbeknownst to the world, never given the platform for their work to be appreciated.

FINDING VIVIAN MAIER, not rated, was released in 2013 and is running in theaters in very limited spots around the country. It's also available on DVD. Find out more about the artist and her story — as well as the story of her discovery by Maloof — at