Final Portrait

"Good"

Final Portrait Review


A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply well-made film feels somewhat slight, with only a wisp of a plot. But the characters are so vivid that it's thoroughly engaging, and it's written and directed by Stanley Tucci with a terrific attention to detail. So even if the plot itself barely seems to have enough fuel to keep moving, there are constant bits of comedy, drama and emotion to hold the interest.

It's set in 1964 Paris, where journalist James Lord (Armie Hammer) agrees to sit for a portrait with Alberto (Geoffrey Rush), who says it will only take a day or two. But Alberto doesn't work very quickly, painting then repainting while constantly being distracted by his favourite muse, the prostitute Caroline (Clemence Poesy). His wife Annette (Sylvie Testud) barely tolerates this, while his brother Diego (Tony Shalhoub) just shrugs it off as he assists Alberto around the studio. James watches all of this with a smirk, then becomes a little worried as days stretch into weeks and he begins to understand that for Alberto this painting will never be completed. Indeed, he never sees any of his work as ready to show to the world.

Anchored by one of Rush's best performances yet, the film is a wonderful depiction of Giacometti's artistic process, watching him produce his work with only his own inner voice to guide him. Rush plays him as a man who never lets a moment of pleasure pass him by, and everything he does is based on spontaneous impulse. So the people around him need the patience of a saint. The wry Hammer is a terrific foil for the blustering Rush, sitting with a bemused smile watching the chaos unfold around him while wondering how he can extricate himself from this situation without ruffling the artist's feathers.

Tucci also remembers to deepen the side roles. Shalhoub, Poesy and Testud all have solid moments of their own, including telling interaction with Alberto as they grapple with their own issues. But it's not an easy film to get a grip on, especially since it looks almost fantastical. Giacometti's studio is oppressively cluttered and dark, like a set from a Harry Potter movie. This grubby, colour-drained design may reflect his artwork, but it jars alongside the film's otherwise brightly comical tone. Fortunately, the characters are so colorfully written and played that they can't help but win us over.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Production compaines: Potboiler Productions, Riverstone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Nik Bower, Gail Egan, Ilann Girard

Starring: as Alberto Giacometti, as James Lord, as Caroline, as Diego Giacometti, as Pierre Matisse, as Annette Arm

Contactmusic

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