Final Portrait (M)
Rating: 3 / 5
Geniuses seem to occupy their own special world sphere, as we see in Geoffrey Rush’s latest film, Final Portrait.
It’s 1964 in Paris, and American writer and art lover James Lord (Armie Hammer) is a huge fan of famous artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush). The two men strike up a friendship and Lord agrees to sit for Giacometti.
When Giacometti blithely says the sitting for the portrait will just take a couple of days, Lord is content, as he is due to fly back to America in two days time. This is where audience members start to snigger, and as the plot pans out, two days become four, and eventually stretch to two weeks as our tortured genius keeps aiming for perfection but realises he can never achieve it. So instead of accepting what he creates, he constantly paints over his efforts, much to Lord’s dismay.
We are taken on a Bohemian ride through two weeks of the artist’s life, seen through the eyes of his sitter. Rush gives a superb characterisation of the brilliant but shambolic artist whose life can best be described as amoral, as his artistic temperament means he shares his favours with his long-suffering young wife Annette (Sylvie Testud) and local prostitute Caroline (Clémence Poésy), who is Giacometti’s lover, muse and model. While this arrangement is quite an open one, the hurt look in Annette’s eyes proves the human cost of this kind of artistic life.
Directed by Stanley Tucci, this is a slice-of-life movie that ambles through two weeks that allow us to see the frustrations and excitement of the creative process. It’s an interesting film, but probably one for the art house market and the legion of Geoffrey Rush fans.
Highlight: Geoffrey Rush’s stunning characterisation
Red flags: Nudity, swearing and adult themes