Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jan 8, 2014
    An exquisitely fun documentary.
  2. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Dec 6, 2013
    As with Six by Sondheim, Tim's Vermeer works at capturing on film how artists work their miracles. And it will have you, long after the credits fade, puzzling out questions of invention, creativity, science, talent, painstaking craft, and the magic that comes of putting all that together.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Feb 13, 2014
    The result is both a captivating history lesson and a tense intellectual thriller that dares to ask big questions about creativity and technology.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 5, 2013
    What Tim’s Vermeer is really about is two geniuses, of very different sorts, communing across time and space.
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 27, 2014
    It’s fascinating and funny while forcing us to consider the line between technology and art.
  6. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 12, 2013
    Like art itself, words can't fully capture what it is like to see the Vermeer emerge under Jenison's brush. Or to see Jenison's obsession with the idea run its course.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Nov 5, 2013
    The result is just about the most fun you can have while learning, partly because it strips away any tangents beyond the task at hand, offering a lean, 80-minute account of how this crazy guy erected his own Everest and then proceeded to climb it.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 20, 2014
    The deeper Tim’s Vermeer takes you, the peskier and more profound the questions get.
  9. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Jan 31, 2014
    The movie is straightforward, brisk, engaging, and sometimes even moving. One might entire feeling wary that the movie, in depicting an attempt to duplicate Vermeer's achievement, might also glibly undercut it; but that's not the point at all. Rather, Tim's Vermeer wants to expand the audience's understanding of what the actual practice of art is.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 31, 2014
    A stimulating detective story that holds you in thrall.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jan 30, 2014
    This thought-provoking documentary addresses the origins of Vermeer's photo-realistic art with all the suspense of a thriller.
  12. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Nov 5, 2013
    Teller manages a careful enough balance between painstaking technique and a larger cultural context over 80 brisk minutes to make even minor revelations feel like major moments.
  13. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 5, 2013
    Teller's rough, uncomplicated filmmaking style does little to elaborate on Jenison's story, as the subject's unending curiosity singlehandedly carries each scene.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Feb 2, 2014
    Anything narrated by Penn Jilette is, by definition, awesome. But this story is remarkable. Tim, unlike so many today, has an incredible can-do spirit & attitude. He doesn't give up when faced with obstacles. He doesn't whine. I'd love to see what he's up to next. And I'd love to see what his painting would go for on the open market. It's lovely. Full Review »
  2. Mar 12, 2014
    Inventor Tim Jenison developed a theory that Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer used some sort of optic technology to create his paintings. After interviews and research he sets out to create his own version of one of Vermeer's classics by working from a real environment. This is a fascinating concept and an amazing procedure that took years to realize. The documentation of the tedious final process is the only time the film starts to lag. Otherwise, it's interesting to anyone who enjoys an intriguing confluence of art and technology. Full Review »
  3. Feb 5, 2014
    “Tim’s Vermeer” is a documentary involving Tim Jenison, the noted inventor and visual arts entrepreneur, and his inquiry into the style and methods used by Johannes Vermeer who Mr. Jenison considers to be the finest artist of the 17th Century or, for that matter, any Century.
    Jenision ‘s aim or goal is to answer the question: “How did Vermeer do it” and were optical assists used in the creaton of his art. With input from artists such as actor Martin Mull and artist David Hockney, under the able narration of Penn Jillette and direction of Teller, Mr. Jenison shares with the audience his scientific means of trying to discover and prove what optical devices were used by artist Vermeer under the same circumstances and limitations that faced Mr. Vermeer in the 1600’s. This is an absorbing film with Jenison sharing each effort, success and setback as he, although not an artist himself, seeks to create a Vermeer painting using the techniques he hypothesizes the artist used some 400 years ago.
    This film is not only for art buffs, but for those of us ready to witness an inventor who, with tenacity and spirit, works tirelessly to achieve the desired result. I give this film an 8.5 and highly recommend that it be seen by as many viewers as possible.
    Full Review »