My Kid Could Paint That

My Kid Could Paint That
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Anthony Brunelli, Stuart Simpson
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
WorkNameSort: My Kid Could Paint That
Our Rating: 4.00
My Kid Could Paint That is about a lot of things – least of all the astonishing story of Marla Olmstead, a 4-year-old abstract painter from Binghamton, N.Y., whose works have brought her thousands of dollars and international acclaim. More than anything, Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary is both a critique and an embodiment of the myth of objectivity in nonfiction reportage. The film starts out as a fascinating examination of how a girl can balance the unwarranted responsibilities of Important Artist with those of an average elementary-schooler. But it soon becomes a director’s notes on a scandal, thanks to a controversial 60 Minutes II report that aired midway through the filming. Once the question is raised of whether Marla received crucial help on her Pollockian abstractions from her sometimes-artist father, Bar-Lev puts his own moral obligations at the forefront, debating in the narration his lingering doubts about the Olmsteads’ wish for the documentary to exonerate their daughter. The question “What is art?” becomes “What is truth?,” a philosophically heady inquiry that is clearly meant to comment on the documentary form as well. Even when Bar-Lev seems unable to let the scandal go, My Kid Could Paint That is great theater, thereby proving that even a story as unique as this can’t stay fresh without a little media-manipulated drama.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.