With this enthralling and beautifully mannered labour-of-love of a film, writer/director Stanley Tucci has taken a brief moment in the life of artist Alberto Giacometti and distilled it into an amusing, sophisticated and insightful film about art, life and love.
With Geoffrey Rush in superb form as the wonderfully contrary artist, this chamber piece film is a finely mounted comedy drama full of bold brush strokes and artistic flourishes.
Final Portrait is based on young American art critic James Lord’s memoir of how Giacometti invited him to sit for him in Paris in 1964, only to find his portrait sitting, that the wonderfully flighty Giacometti said would last for a few hours at most, extending into days and weeks. Flattered by the attention, Lord (impressively played by Armie Hammer) is forced to cancel and rearrange a series of flights back home as Giacometti is distracted by outbursts about money, ruminations on art and death, and the regular appearances of his muse and lover Caroline (Clémence Poésy). As Lord begins to feel he will never leave – with Giacometti repeatedly overpainting the nearly finished painting and declaring it mediocre – Giacometti seems to relish the younger man being around his studio and the pair develop an unusual bond.
Geoffrey Rush is very funny as the acerbic and contemptuous Giacometti; Armie Hammer charming as the polite Lord; Sylvie Testud delightful as Annette, Giacometti’s long-suffering wife; Clémence Poésy vivacious as his lover; and Tony Shalhoub a lovely calm balance as Giacometti’s brother and studio assistant Diego.
- Edinburgh International Film Festival