Synopsis

The curtain opens on a wonderfully cantankerous, 84-year-old Georgia O’Keeffe. She stubbornly climbs to the peak of her favorite mountain in New Mexico, eager to capture the magnificent view before her, bathed in the ethereal light of a gathering storm. But Georgia is going blind, and she is terrified she can no longer paint.

 

As if born of this fear, Waldo, an art critic from her past, emerges on the mountaintop. Threatening to review her entire life’s work, Waldo criticizes her decision to ruthlessly pursue her art at the expense of nourishing relationships, a sense of belonging, and the experience of motherhood.

 

Waldo’s needling questions cause Georgia to summon a lifetime of memories that materialize beneath the mountain. We see a striking young Georgia awakening to her artistic passion: flowers dance, paintings come to life, and a singing cow skull dances with her and becomes her muse.

 

In stark contrast to this magical sensuality, she confronts a stifling human world:  art teachers refuse to take her seriously; male students mock her ambitions; friends and suitors drain her energies.

 

Even after fleeing to Texas, cutting her hair and donning masculine clothes, wary cowboys refuse to let her drink in their bar, and suspicious neighbors cast aspersions on her morality.

 

Then she meets and falls for the powerful art impresario, Alfred Stieglitz. He introduces her art, and her naked body, to the world, bringing her fame and fortune, but also savage scrutiny by the male art establishment and deep betrayal by his repeated infidelities.  

   

Everything comes to a climax when a storm engulfs the mountain where old Georgia is painting, and young Georgia simultaneously has a nervous breakdown. Moved by her distress, Georgia's paintings intervene, guiding old Georgia to reunite with her younger self.  

 

The two find solace and strength in each other in the penetrating and touching duet, "Lend Me You." Old Georgia blesses her younger self, giving her permission to abandon the human realm and to find refuge on her beloved mountain in New Mexico, her personal Shangri-La.