My Kid Could Paint That

Amir Bar-Lev


My Kid Could Paint That
Directed by: Amir Bar-Lev
(Sony Pictures)
Marla Omstead’s abstract paintings are compared to Jackson Pollock’s. Her exhibition is covered by the New York Times, but she doesn’t like interviews. At her opening, she sticks close to her mom. Marla is four years old.


Amir Bar-Lev begins his doc thinking he’s presenting a shy child prodigy and her photogenic family. But the focus soon pulls away from the cute kid. Life is all limos and Letterman until a 60 Minutes shocker runs with a child psychologist insisting that Marla had assistance from her father. The family is vilified. Bar-Lev too expresses growing doubts as Marla becomes the Looney Tunes singing frog, only painting masterpieces in front of her family.


Thus the story becomes a layered exploration of media ethics; a mystery with an ambiguous conclusion.


Unfortunately the film misses an opportunity to debunk the popular suspicion that non-figurative---abstract-expressionist---art is a scam. Even Anthony Brunelli, a photo-realist painter whose gallery represents Marla, admits using her to expose artistic fraud. Times critic Michael Kimmelman offers educated opinions, but Bar-Lev never speaks to a curator or practicing artist. Like everyone else, he was blinded by those big eyes and sunny globs of paint.

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Get more Halifax

Our Thursday email gets you caught up with The Coast. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.

Recent Comments