My Indiana Muse (Ric & Jen Serena, 2018) USA


“My Indiana Muse” is a captivating documentary film about painter Robert Townsend’s artistic journey and exploration of the impact one woman had on many people’s lives. The film follows Townsend’s unwavering fascination with his muse: Helen. Taking decades to focus months at a time on the intricate details of the life of one woman. Something about her story inspired him to dedicate his life to painting hers. Thought this intriguing film, we begin to identify and captivated by this woman.

We follow Townsend’s exploration into Helen’s life and see the places she went and the people she influenced. The film shows that there is a deeper side into every seemingly ordinary life; while teaching us that everyone’s story is a lesson to learn from. I believe in today’s society we don’t take enough time to take a step back and take a moment to forget where we are going and who we want to be; life is full of lessons to learn. Helen was an amazing woman and had a great impact over the people in her life. She represents the everyday person; at first glance she is an average woman but dig a little deeper and we learn how unique and interesting she is in her own way.

This film does a wonderful job representing how artists can use their platform to portray the deeper side to seemingly ordinary things. Art is a platform to express things that cannot be shown in any other form. The movie was beautiful because it shows depth and influence everyday people have in the world it is a great representation in how artist’s obsessive minds are valuable and selfless; how focusing on someone else’s life and the wisdom they hold is as or more important than solely focusing on our own. Each person has something to offer if we are open to it.

Directed, produced, and edited by Ric and Jen Serena, the film is beautifully done with bright colors to match Townsend’s artistic style of painting. I specifically enjoyed the time-lapse of Townsend painting and the way the film would go between interviews and scenery or shots of helen’s life. This film is by no means an average documentary and we slowly find ourselves being drawn into not only Helen but also Robert Townsend and the special relationship and value he shows for her life.

If you enjoy art and are interested in the passionate nature of artist’s minds, the importance of everyday life, and the lessons that can be learned from others experiences, I encourage you to watch this film. The life we lead should all be cherished as much as Helens. No matter who you are or where you are at in life, there is something to take away from this film just as there is something to learn from every story.



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