» » Final Portrait (2017)

Short summary

The story of Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti.
In 1964, while on a short trip to Paris, the American writer and art-lover James Lord (Armie Hammer) is asked by his friend, the world-renowned artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush), to sit for a portrait. The process, Giacometti assures Lord, will take only a few days. Flattered and intrigued, Lord agrees. So begins not only the story of an offbeat friendship, but, seen through the eyes of Lord, an insight into the beauty, frustration, profundity and, at times, downright chaos of the artistic process. FINAL PORTRAIT is a portrait of a genius, and of a friendship between two men who are utterly different, yet increasingly bonded through a single, ever-evolving act of creativity. It is a film which shines a light on the artistic process itself, by turns exhilarating, exasperating and bewildering, questioning whether the gift of a great artist is a blessing or a curse.

Trailers "Final Portrait (2017)"

The first film Stanley Tucci directed which he did not act in.

London doubled for Paris in the film because they couldn't afford to film in Paris. Filming took place over a week and a half and CGI was used to make it look like Paris. According to Tucci, it was cheaper for a small film to use CGI than to visit the real location.

Alberto Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, now part of the Switzerland municipality of Bregaglia, near the Italian border. He was a descendant of Protestant refugees escaping the inquisition. His brothers Diego and Bruno would go on to become artists as well. "Pointing Man" sold for $126 million, $141.3 million with fees, in Christie's May 11, 2015 Looking Forward to the Past sale in New York, a record for a sculpture at auction. The work had been in the same private collection for 45 years.

According to the website of the art auction house Christie's, the portrait of James Lord sold in November 2015 for $20,885,000. Painted in 1964, it was 45 ¾ x 31 ¾ in. The painting was called "James Lord." Christie's writes: "The result of this intense exchange between Giacometti and James Lord, the artist and his sitter, is a superb head whose eyes flash the penetrating gaze of a Byzantine icon, a seated figure that displays the assertive presence of an Egyptian pharaoh, and a lambent corona of silvery grey paint that projects the aura of a Christ en gloire, en majesté."

The filmmakers meticulously recreated Giacometti's studio, using archive photos and footage. The Giacometti Foundation in Paris assisted the production, on the condition that any artworks created for the film would be destroyed after production was completed.

The film had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 11, 2017.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Gaeuney
    Loved the film, it is definitely not for everyone, as an art student it was rather interesting to see an artists process of making a painting. The film itself is rather small, it is centred around one particular event. The acting is great. I would recommend it to artists and people who are interested in creative process of making an artwork.
  • comment
    • Author: Dalallador
    The search for perfection is an endless workflow. It is a routine in which there is always time for a walk with a friend, an affair with a muse or a fight with a wife.

    The peculiarity of this picture is that Tucci does not dramatize the reality of life. He shows everything as it happens in it. A good well-done shot story about the true love of artists for their craft.
  • comment
    • Author: Lightbinder
    Luckily this movie isn't that long because there isn't that much story. But nevertheless it's interesting for a look a the creative process of one of the most famous sculptors in the world. This isn't a sweeping biopic of the artist's life just a segment.

    Geoffrey Rush is effective as the sculptor trying to paint a painting and starting over and over again. His subject is an art critic played by Armie Hammer who looks elegant as he poses in his suits. Clemence Poesy plays a prostitute mistress of Giacometti.

    Worth a watch if you are interested in Giacometti.
  • comment
    • Author: Frlas
    An interesting portrait about the painter Giacometti at the end of his life, when he painted his last painting before he died. It is curious to see their crises, their insecurities and dissatisfactions in the act of creating. And Geoffrey Rush is very well in the role of the painter while creating an interesting relationship with the character of Armie Hammer.
  • comment
    • Author: Jogas
    I understand that there are people that may have problems with this movie. It can be a frustrating movie to watch. But it can also be, funny, exasperating and sad. The acting is great. I don't place a judgement on the artist's behavior. He was as he was. This movie is about the artistic process, and the collaboration in that process. It can be tedious, chaotic and at times mesmerizing. It reminded me of a few of my friends who are artists. They truly do see the world in a different way, and at times you just have to go with it.
  • comment
    • Author: Liarienen
    I wanted to see this movie because I like Geoffrey Rush and Tony Shalhoub. I'd never seen a movie directed by Stanley Tucci, either, so that interested me. I took myself to see this, and expected a semi-art house flick. This was... OK, in my opinion. Here's why:

    The Good: The acting is good, which means the directing was good. Well acted and directed in my opinion.

    The Bad: There's a bit more than the good, unfortunately. The scenes get a little repetitive after a while, there's a dark color tone to the film that takes a little while to get used to, and I don't feel like you really have a reason to care about the characters. You get left in the dark, just kind of wondering what's taking so long for this man to finish the portrait. He's all over the place. Sometimes studying his drawing, sometimes carousing his mistress, sometimes cursing up a storm. It's an odd situation, watching this film. I didn't dislike it, as some of the other patrons in my theater did, but I don't see a reason to revisit it. So... I'll give it 5/10.
  • comment
    • Author: Went Tyu
    If you enjoy watching paint dry this is your film. Imagine an artist who is unable to finish a painting without needing to start again…and again. That is the basic premise of Final Portrait (2017). It's a bio-pic that looks into the idiosyncratic mind of renown Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) in a story so lacking in forward narrative that many will be left wondering why they watched it at all.

    Based on real events, Final Portrait is an adaptation of a memoir by American writer James Lord (Armie Hammer) who is flattered when asked to pose for a portrait by Giacometti. Believing it may be a single session, it turns out to take almost three weeks of daily sittings. The artist lives amidst chaotic mess with a long-suffering wife who tolerates his obsession with a prostitute girlfriend. He hates banks; prefers to hide cash under his studio rubble; has few social filters; and is liked by all despite a tendency insult others. The portrait sessions are constantly interrupted by long walks, drinks at nearby bars, and frequent outbursts due to chronic perfectionism that ensures his works are never finished. He is unable to walk past his clay sculptures without making a change and some are so altered that they are reduced to stick figures. Lord's amused and bewildered fascination with the life of a creative genius keeps him cancelling his return flight to America just to see his final portrait.

    The nineteen-day timeframe feels like the same event repeated nineteen times (mercifully, with some time compressions). Along the way, we watch the deeply etched face of the cantankerous Giacometti as he grimaces in self-rebuke, lusts after his girlfriend, and gazes deeply into the gaze of James Lord to search not for the look but the inner soul of another human being. If you can forgive Geoffrey Rush's Aussie-Swiss accent, there is much to admire in his characterisation of an angst-ridden artist. But it is also wearingly repetitive. Lord is the master's foil as the suited slick- back straight guy. Initially adrift in the world of an erratic painter, he is conservative and upright yet his vanity is drawn like a moth to the flame of genius, eager to understand Giacometti's creativity. While both play their part brilliantly, it is Geoffrey Rush who dominates the screen. The studio set is cluttered and claustrophobic, like the artist's mind, and the cinematography employs the shallow depth-of-field effect to dwell on detail, allowing sharply focused faces to peer between blurred works of art as if to say these are but points in time that will never find their final form.

    There are clever ironies in watching a painter who studies his subject, while the subject studies the painter. It's a three-way mirror between audience, Rush and Lord. But such existential twists are not enough to elevate this film to a level of great meaning. Viewers enthralled by this field of art might enjoy the story but most others may struggle. It's like a moment in time that lasts nineteen weeks, then compressed into ninety minutes. There is little to look forward to as the ending has no more meaning than the beginning but is far more welcomed.
  • comment
    • Author: the monster
    A simple well written and perfectly acted story of an artist and his need to create and make that creation perfect to his liking.

    Set in the early 1960's the feel and charm of this film is quiet and unrushed to show a time when daily life wasn't as complex and full of the communication distractions we are saddled with today.

    This story isn't so much about the artist as it is about the artist nearing his final days and facing his needs.

    Loved it !
  • comment
    • Author: Berkohi
    My Silver Knight Riff

    1. I think a lot of people, especially artists, will enjoy this movie, even though it's kind of slow.

    Kind of like watching paint dry.

    Ouch. Sorry. Does that sound unfair? Too harsh? Well, maybe, but don't get me wrong. I really like the movie.

    I like slow. I like watching paint dry.

    I'm a painter.

    And so this movie speaks to me. I admire it. I admire Alberto Giacometti, whose life and mind I didn't know a whole lot about. I admire the screenwriter and set designer and all other facets of this refined 1h 31m movie--a terrific example of the Jean-Luc Godard concept that a movie is "the world in an hour and a half."

    In all kinds of satisfying ways, FINAL PORTRAIT paints a compelling portrait of Art.

    2. But I'm just being honest with you. Because when I went to see FINAL PORTRAIT the other night at the 1938 Art Moderne architectural gem the Tower Theater here in Sacramento, California, that thought, "like watching paint dry," flashed through my mind 1/2 way through the movie.

    A movie about a painter and painting and paint.

    So in a way, you can't help yourself having this thought, right? But it interrupted my concentration. I was sitting there in the theater as focused on the screen as Giacometti on his canvas. The film hooked me. But my mind wandered. Which broke the spell.


    Because as this moment signified, when you get right down to it, the story design of FINAL PORTRAIT lacks the multi-dimensional development and depth that produces a sustained and irresistible emotional response.

    3. I wanted more from FINAL PORTRAIT than intellectual appreciation. I wanted to feel and experience what I'm always hoping a movie will deliver--what all types of art will deliver, but especially a movie: what Robert McKee calls "aesthetic emotion" . . . and what the ancient Greeks called catharsis. Related concepts, but not the same.

    And when I watch a movie, I can't help yielding to the upwelling of these two magical forces any more than Jude Law's leaky-faucet character, Graham, can avoid tearing up in THE HOLIDAY.

    But FINAL PORTRAIT didn't trigger in me these emotions. I went into the theater hoping to come out like Jude Law's Graham. But I exited the theater like Cameron Diaz's Amanda. Dry eyed.

    4. FINAL PORTRAIT didn't affect me the way I expect a great story exceptionally well told to affect me. But FINAL PORTRAIT is a treat for our eyes, ears, and soul. And it is most definitely a good story well told.

    And the movie takes me back 25 years ago to memories of seeing 32 SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD. (24 Short Films About Glenn Gould for my mom, because she entered the theater late and missed 1/4 of the film.) Makes me want to see both movies again. The pianist and the painter.

    And for 25 years, I've been breathing in Glenn Gould's artistic spirit and intellectual temperament, and to at least some degree they've infiltrated my being. I already feel the same thing happening because of FINAL PORTRAIT's rendering of Alberto Giacometti.

    I'll take what I saw and learned from the filmmakers' portrayal of him and their portrayal of art back to my studio to paint and repaint a new portrait of myself.

    For years to come.

    5. A few quick notes about the actors. Armie Hammer, in the role of James Lord, the American writer who narrates the movie and the model for Giacometti's final portrait, strikes an appealing pose in his reserved way as he did even more so in one of last year's most exquisite films, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, for which James Ivory (at 89) so deservingly won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

    And Geoffrey Rush . . . well, such a wonderful actor . . . what an engaging and compelling portrait of Alberto . . . his spirit . . . heart . . . mind . . . . His face molded by the filmmakers into a likeness of one of Giacometti's sculptures . . . his physicality makeupped and dressed to reflect the gray of his paintings. What a gift for Rush to play such a role. And he gives us the gift of his art in return.

    Tony Shalhoub portrays Alberto's faithful gatekeeper-brother Diego so well too. Understated and nuanced. And Annette (Sylvie Testud) and Caroline (Clemence Poesy) also well written, cast, and rendered too. Pretty much not a wrong note by the artists of the cast and the artists who comprise the filmmaking team.

    6. We get lines that educate and entertain about Giacometti himself, his artistic process and exacting patient search, and other artists about whom Giacometti has fascinating things to say, succinctly honoring Cézanne, nothing surprising revealed there, but slamming Picasso, way surprising.

    And even James weighs in about Dora Maar and Cézanne's wife in witty lines of exposition and observation.

    I also liked the brief scene of Alberto doing coffee with actor James Faulkner's Matisse--a surrealist twist given that Matisse died in 1954, 10 years before the time of the movie.

    So Giacometti liked Cézanne and Matisse, but not Picasso? That's OK with me--Cézanne and Matisse are the two kings on the chessboard of modern painting. Picasso himself knew that. But disappointing to learn that Giacometti undervalues the importance of Picasso and Braque and Analytical and Synthetic Cubism. Especially when Giacometti's sculptures and paintings reflect their influence.

    7. I guess the deepest most lasting impression for me--if I were to fast forward 25 years to what I might then look back and recall--will likely prove to be the pleasing feature that struck me right off the bat: the muted, gray color palette of a movie about the artist called the "Grey One." The filmmakers paint the look and feel of Giacometti's World in tones of gray, warm and cool. A World, an Arena, that includes his Studio . . . and his Home . . . and the Courtyard that connects them--the Space between that unifies the turbulent angst of Giacometti's somber intense melancholy gray world of Work and Love.

    Freud said those are the two basic human needs. The two that most people need fulfilled to feel happy.

    Work and Love.

    FINAL PORTRAIT gets that.

    8. We see the twilight struggle of Alberto's Inner World at the end of his life given poetic expression through the gray portrait of the artist's Outer World.

    A world of light and shadow and hazy windows and mirrors and broken glass . . . quasi reflections of emotional truth and complex gray human relationships . . . reinforced through the subtext of Giacometti's compressed and mid-toned work-and-love venue where the unfolding of the drama of his life takes place.

    I believe that architecture is the stage set for the drama of life--the drama of life and death. The world in a building.

    The filmmakers of FINAL PORTRAIT are in touch with these concepts.

    9. The set design of Giacometti's studio features sculptures ranging in size from XL to XS. We see variants of Giacometti's trademark sculptures: stick-like, elongated, vertically distorted--an echo of El Greco.

    But we also see more classically volumetric studies, including an XL sculpted head that Giacometti especially adores. A self-portrait? Probably. Like all of his work.

    And this particular sculpture of an XL face helps us grasp Giacometti's brave eccentricity and obsession with the plasticity and rugged terrain of the human head. Sculpted and molded by the artist's hands as if by God from the clay of the earth--but sculpted true to Cézanne's view of the world as formed essentially by geometric primaries: cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres.

    We get the feeling that all of these sculptures are Giacometti's best friends. Expressions of his zest, life force, and love.

    And through the art of film, we view Giacometti in a studio where sculptures of people interact visually and symbolically with flesh-and-blood human beings, all in a crowded sacred space that runs on the psychological energy and physical work of the artist and on the fuel of the tense interplay of the artist's and his models' minds and emotions--from buoyant Caroline, Alberto's prostitute girlfriend, so eager for him to paint her portrait . . . to low key James who's honored to sit for the artist but can't wait to leave Paris and get back to New York . . . to agonized Annette, the wife, distraught but steadfast and accepting.

    10. FINAL PORTRAIT presents the layered emotional choreography of this odd ensemble of souls, united by Alberto Giacometti's fiery passion, on a stage set of life where the artist isn't the typical starving artist. Just the opposite. Giacometti is so successful selling his art that he has money to burn.

    But he doesn't care. Because he knows that money can't buy him the one thing he really wants--what all artists worth their soul really want:


    11. I didn't know anything about this movie before it started. Zero. Only the title. Just the way I like it. So I had no idea it was about Giacometti. Or who was cast in the roles of a screenplay I didn't know who wrote. So the credits at the end revealed the beautiful surprise. Wow. Way to go Stanley Tucci. Director and Writer. Thanks to James Lord and your sensitive adaption of his memoir "A Giacometti Portrait," you've painted the canvas of the silver screen with beautiful brush strokes, evoking in me associations with James Joyce through your Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man.

    My Silver Knight Rating of FINAL PORTRAIT:

    White Knight (Form): 8.0

    Black Knight (Story): 7.0


    Silver Knight (Form & Story): 7.5

    7.5 Cameras

    The Silver Knight Rating scores a movie's level of play in what I call the Chess Game of Art. (See my IMDb commentary on ARRIVAL.)
  • comment
    • Author: Vonalij
    "Final Portrait" is a British film from this year (2017) that is mostly in the English language, but there are parts in French and Italian too, so a solid set of subtitles may help. Or two. It runs for pretty much exactly and is the most recent effort as writer and director by Oscar nominated actor Stanley Tucci. And unless you count a television documentary episode, this is his first work in both field in a decade (since 2007). And it may very well be his best actually. The film works as both a character study and period piece and this is for a large part thanks to lead actor Geoffrey Rush (looking like a mix of De Niro and Werner Herzog) who plays the central part of painter Alberto Giacometti in here and he is in pretty much all scenes from start to finish. But he is not first-billed because Armie Hammer is also in it from start to finish. But it's not really a thankful role, he has very little to work with here and his character is to Rush what Maguire is to Di Caprio in The Great Gatsby for example or McAvoy to Whitaker in the latter's Oscar winning performance. Even some of the supporting players here, maybe the other Giacometti for example, have better material here. Boy Tony Shalhoub has aged, but then again he is in his sixties, but I just cannot get him out of my head with his black curly hair as Monk. Anyway, there is not a great deal of drama in here I guess. The biggest source for conflict (besides his permanent inner struggles) is probably the artist's relationship with a prostitute and the pimps' involvement with said relationship. It is a relatively slow movie I would say, but it does justice to both subject and the protagonist I would say. Life is slow for him. I don't really think that this is the kind of film that will give Rush lots of awards attention, but maybe I am also a bit biased as I am a huge fan of the Oscar-winning actor from Australia. I don't think anybody else would have played the part better, maybe a few others as good. Anyway, even for somebody with zero interest in painters this was an interesting film. You don't even need to know the name Giacometti before seeing this one. It's all about learning from movies and if you like the director or cast members, then that is more than enough. Go check out this little fairly underseen work. I certainly recommend it and it shows as well that Tucci learned a lot from all the great filmmakers he worked with.
  • comment
    • Author: Otrytrerl
    Swiss-born painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti was obsessed with the human head and incorporated both surrealism and cubism in his works. Being a perfectionist, he was continuously reworking his own sculptures and paintings, sometimes even destroying them if he was not satisfied with the direction the work was going. This working style is in sharp contrast with the film director's style here: Focusing on Giacometti's portrait of New Yorker James Lord this turns out to be an over clichéd Hollywood version of an art movie. Too neat, too clean, too cautious and basically just painting by numbers. Not only is the storyline very thin, there are only a few moments of inventive storytelling, for example how the adultery is introduced from both angles or how a dinner with Giacometti and his partner with Lord ends.

    It all lacks directorial vision and the script is weak, lacking focus and inventiveness. That the basic setup for a movie like this (artist-model) can be interesting was proved some time ago by Rivette in La Belle Noiseuse. The chosen angle here is not that relevant and the movie could have been more interesting by providing tension and character depth, or by focusing on other aspects of Giacometti's life: His connections to Miró, Ernst, or Picasso (the latter only shortly touched upon in a conversation in Père-Lachaise cemetery), his background, or his first unfinished project in New York for Chase Manhattan.

    Is it all that bad? As an actor directing here there is one saving grace: The acting. Especially Geoffrey Rush's interpretation of Giacometti is remarkable and Oscar-worthy.
  • comment
    • Author: Jube
    I figured that by the end of the picture something would happen to explain why this story was being told, what the protagonist would have revealed to him other than an onslaught of schmoozing, name-dropping and "posing" (pun intended). Instead it pretty much follows as it began, with celebrities (We'll take their word for it) of the early Sixties enjoying pleasant conversations about this or that for the sake of saying "I know famous people." I think a more seasoned writer would have developed a pursuit of why the characters are propelled forward into this action that, instead, just seems to keep repeating itself. As Homer Simpson might say about some of his own TV episodes "It's just a bunch of stuff that happened." Probably a storytelling technique was in place in the original book that doesn't quite work as a movie. I made sure to return the video to Red Box before midnight so I didn't have to pay for two days' rental. Honestly I didn't hate it -- one might say it got my mind to relax about as well as a TV talk show could. It just didn't add anything. At least it was only ninety minutes long, although here I suspect that the short duration was a clue to the film's vacuousness.
  • comment
    • Author: Foxanayn
    Sydney Film Festival 2017. Geoffery Rush puts himself in the running for an Oscar with this brilliant portrayal of an irritating genius. Armie Hammer plays his biographer and sitter James Lord, a former spy, (who was 44 at the time, so 30 year old Armie is tad too young.) It is the story of the final portrait painted by the genius Alberto Giocometti in Paris in 1964. It is much, much more than this. A contrast in personalities without conflict. I suspect, if we knew James Lord, we were find that Mr Hammer's performance is spot on, just less spectacular befitting a more amiable personality. It is a quieter, but no less stellar performance. These two play off each other to perfection, and to such an extent that all other characters seem insignificant. Even the usually scene stealing Tony Shalhoub is subdued. The cinematography, giving us a dark and sepia coloured bygone Paris, is quietly perfect in time and place. This talky, quirky film will not be to everybody's taste, but it may gain reluctant converts by word of mouth.

    I worried about ticking the 'spoilers' box, because the title 'final portrait' tells it all, and very little.

    I would point out that heavy smoker Giocometti (Note: Mr Rush!) died at age 65, his brothers lived to be 89 and 104! Mr Hammer does not smoke, he lights cigarettes, and holds them, fiddles with them, and only once visibly inhales. While Mr Rush goes thru a packet in every scene. Tut-tut!!
  • comment
    • Author: Cala
    THE FINAL PORTRAIT, in Competition at Brrlin, 2017. This is a long drawn out (Pun intended ) artificial story of the final portrait drawn and painted by World famous Swiss Pinter/sculptor Alfredo Giacometti (1901 - 1966). The film is divided into 18 tedious days with Australian actor Geoffrey Rush portraying the last days of the eccentric artist in his studio painting, erasing, and repainting the portrait of a young American who, with extraordinary patience, keeps canceling his reservation to return home, merely for the dubious privilege of being painted by the famous eccentric artist -- even if the sitting drags on for two weeks longer than originally scheduled.

    The film is divided into numbered days; Day One, Day two, etc. until after two weeks and many canceled reservations, the last three days are lumped together as Days 16, 17' 18 - - to finally get this dull story out of its misery. Along The way we are introduced to some of the artists eccentricities such as keeping all the stacks of banknotes he gets for his work hidden in various places in his messy apartment because he doesn't trust banks -- what? -- not even Swiss banks!

    If the story had only lasted five or six days it might have been halfway interesting. When the one note joke of his multiple quirks runs out of steam around day number four or five the whole picture collapses into tedious repetition ending up as a crashing bore. Oh yes, along the way references are made to the work of other famous contemporaries such as Cezanne but thus is hardly a lesson in art history -- much more a lesson in how to make a really boring movie with a top character actor such as Mr. Rush. Two stars because there was a teeny bit of fun watching Rush freaking out under a bush of white curls, but this is one picture that shoulda stayed at home.
  • comment
    • Author: Daizil
    Nothing happens in this "movie" about the swiss sculpturer Giacometti. The aim is to show his personality and his way of working, through the creation of a young man's portrait; however, the rythm is terribly low, no one of the characters is well described and there is no story at all. The same concepts could have been express in half an hour. What is more, I don't like Giacometti. I have never been fascinated by his work and, knowing better the man - not only the artist - I have now a worse opinion of him, as a selfish person interested only in himself and his art, a really bad husband and a man never satisfied of anything. I am sorry if I am not able to appreciate this artist and this tribut to him, but I have the doubt that he has been overrated by critics and public opinion.
  • comment
    • Author: Mr_Mole
    Gifted performer Stanly Tucci gets behind the camera for this watch-the-paint-dry movie about the final days of eccentric artist Alberto Giacometti. The selling pitch claimed it was a look at the life of the celebrated artist but, the audience comes away knowing absolutely nothing about his life - save that fact he was damaged goods. About all this rather stretched-out movie shows us is several weeks or so during the creation of one portrait. Here, Stanly Tucci writes the script & directs Australian character actor Geoffrey Rush - who gives us another studied performance as this selfish, self-doubting artist. Everyone in Giacometti's life suffers one way or another, including his wife and remarkably patient brother Diego who, as Alberto's studio assistant, manages to shrug off his frustrating waste of time, talent and money. It seems that Award winning Cinematographer Danny Cohen (the Kings Speech) uses cheap hand-Held cameras for this shoot - to give the actors free movement and keep production costs well down. With a running time of 90mins, unless, 'Less-is-More' for you, this may be a rather thin and boring experience & probably would have been far better as a short or featurette. Otherwise, mainly for the dedicated art set.
  • comment
    • Author: KiddenDan
    Although in the '60's I knew famous artists could live in hovels, I never imagined the way Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush), the famous sculptor/painter, lived. In Final Portrait, his grimy Parisian first-floor apartment is strewn with famous spindly-limbed sculptures amid broken pottery and glass with an easel on which he paints a portrait of his friend, James Lord (Armie Hammer).

    I am usually critical of stories about painters because these biopics rarely give insight into the artistic process (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Frida, and Pollock among my favorites, but disappointing that way), concentrating rather on the dynamic personal life. However, Final Portrait lets us sit with his subject and ingest the cranky chaos that has already bred world-wide fame.

    While his wife Annette Arm (Sylvie Testud), is in attendance, the artist carries on at length with a delightful prostitute, Caroline (Clemence Poesy), goes to dives, disrespects money, chain smokes, and generally acts like the Bohemian he is.

    Such seems the stereotype, but writer/director Stanley Tucci deftly adapts Lord's book, A Giacometti Portrait, to let us experience the disarray of the process that takes weeks. The artist is disappointed multiple times, starts over, yet really believes no portrait is ever finished.

    Alberto Giacometti keeps us hoping that another day of Lord's sitting will produce a result, yet another day comes and goes into weeks. Lord, a writer, is remarkably patient as we all know genius will not be hurried. When it's over, however, you can bet on its being world-class.

    Rush is charming as the disheveled genius, while Hammer is handsome, as always, and subdued in the artist's presence. I was not bored for a second because I felt like a visitor witnessing the workings of chaotic brilliance, a true friendship, and the essence of Parisian artistic life.

    Sit back and enjoy an artist at work. It may seem slow, but it's not.
  • comment
    • Author: Nahelm
    The terrific character actor Stanley Tucci is also a terrific director, and for evidence of that look no further than his latest directorial effort, "The Final Portrait."

    The film is fact-based, about sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti (played by Geoffrey Rush), in 1964, toward the end of his career.

    The plot revolves around Giacometti inviting author and arts aficionado James Lord (Arnie Hammer) to sit for one of his final portraits _ considered by many to be his last great picture _ at the Paris studio that Giocometti operates with his brother, Diego (Tony Shalhoub).

    The result is a finely chiseled character study of the artist and an immensely fascinating depiction of the creative process.

    Perfectly understated in every way, from performance to photography, the film is a gently, lilting valentine to all who share in the creative process, in any discipline.

    False starts, self-doubt, depression, euphoria _ It's all there.

    Rush believably and movingly captures a genius at the end of his days, right down to his shuffling gait and hunched carriage, without overdoing, while Shalhoub, a vastly under appreciated actor, makes every subtle expression and movement poignant and meaningful.

    Hammer's young author Lord offers perfect counterpoint, posing questions with a look or gesture, serving as a wide-eyed link between the audience and the man he struggles to understand.

    Sylvie Testud as the artist's wife, Annette, brings all the deep love and pain of a complicated relationship in each and every scene, while Clemence Poesy _ recently seen as the icy French detective in the TV series "The Tunnel" _ here shows a distant warmth and complexity as the prostitute who has become the artist's mistress.

    The creative process is not a linear or always pretty one, but, as demonstrated here, it is invariably intriguing and can also inspire.

    This 90-minute film comes highly recommended.
  • comment
    • Author: JOGETIME
    Like most films about an artist, this is about (i) this artist and (ii) The Artist. This artist is the brilliant Swiss/Italian painter/sculptor Alberto Giacometti. Among the several borders he straddles in his work is mankind/existence. His characteristic image - whether in litho, painting or sculpture - is of an impossibly emaciated being, elongated into a teetering vulnerability. His figurative skeletons barely sustain their fragile presence in the antipathetic universe. But they stolidly strive on, with a burning eye or an assertive stride. Yet they barely impinge on their space. That encapsulates postwar European existentialism. The figures are not thin from dieting or starvation but from having been buffeted down and encased by the strictures of human existence. The film recreates Giacometti's studio which teems with recreations of his work. One large white head, bulkier than his typical, looms like a judgment as the characters engage around it and as the artist continually tinkers with his other pieces. Art big, a life small, that one silently asserts. With very little in the way of plot, action, even events, the film's focus is on characterizing Giacometti. The drama his subject James Lord records is Giacometti's insatiable dissatisfaction with his own work. The portrait that should take a day or two stretches into weeks as the artist finds one sense of failure after another, continually whiting over his work to begin anew. What anyone else might deem a success in form and expression, he dismisses because it doesn't achieve his non-apprehensible ideal. A nut bar, obviously, aka Artist. To appease the artist, Lord again and again postpones his flight to New York, even at the risk of the relationship he is compromising by his delays. This Giacometti lives large, everything with a flourish, from his assertive shabbiness to his exaggerated "depositing" of his money. The paradox is that the artist is so effusive in his life but makes such sucked-in, suppressed, creatures in his art. In life he flaunts the obtrusive self, while his art reflects our existential limitations. The two visions respond to each other. Even as he prepares to do a new work or as he rushes out to a bar or a walk, he can't help stopping to do a quick improvement on another piece. And he can never be certain it's an improvement. For its very committing is human, and his own, so necessarily imperfect. Perhaps that's why his every intense day of living is shadowed by the urge to suicide. If only it didn't happen just once.... If only you could repeat it, to improve it.... His quest for that subjective perfection means he can never be satisfied. It also means he keeps growing, changing and taking more risks and achieving greater art. Because he can't be satisfied by his work or by himself, here he trades some of his current more valuable drawings for some earlier - less fashionable, less valuable - works, because he wants to recover something of his old, lost self. The gray old man finds his illusion of romance as fugitive as the vision he pursues in his art - and even more expensive. Hence his absurd overpayment of his mistress's pimps when they come to renegotiate their contract. He raises the price they ask and insists on giving them a large wad to cover the last six months and a larger one for the next. In sex as in art he staves off his mortality. That's living large when you feel human life is so small. For all this individualizing of Giacometti, the film also exercises the modern stereotype of the bohemian artist. Giacometti lives that flamboyance, overriding conventions of art, morality, marriage, social niceties, in compulsive assertion of his self. This is the modern romantic vision of the - of course, necessarily Male - artist. Typically, we get the artist's habitual abuse of his wife, whom he exploits, insults, betrays. Yet he lavishly spoils his mistress, buying her a sports car, and suffers her neglect without a word. You don't have to be of the Me, Too generation to be offended by this. But it helps. He knows the other major artists of his day, of course, but in his own mind and conversation jockeys through gossip to maintain his superiority. An artist needs an ego. How else could he dare to be original? On this theme the film establishes a pointed contrast between Alberto and his artist/designer brother Diego. (Of the lesser known brother Bruno we hear nothing.) Diego has the requisite sensitivity and imagination. He makes a beautiful bird but ruefully acknowledges "It can't fly." But in contrast to Alberto's standard-issue flamboyance, Diego is the quiet, self-effacing worker. He dresses in a shop manager's smock. Instead of the sweeping gesture or challenging extremity, Diego quietly fiddles with things, turning out stuff of value and beauty without any major claims for it. He also avoids Alberto's emotional extremes, indulgences and engagements. Diego's quiet persistence contrasts to Alberto's exuberance. There are other kinds of artist than the stereotype. But it's the Alberto that brings to our much later attention the Diego.
  • comment
    • Author: Unde
    It's 1964 Paris. Famed painter Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) had been a subject for young American writer James Lord (Armie Hammer) after befriending him and his brother Diego (Tony Shalhoub). He invites James to pose for a short painting session. Annette is his dutiful wife forced to accept his model/mistress prostitute Caroline (Clémence Poésy). James' expectation of days turns into weeks.

    I've never been a big fan of Armie Hammer. Something about him always bugs me and I've only been able to accept him in a few movies where he fits the roles. In this one, he's the person who represents the audience as he gets inside this insular world and this artistic genius. I just don't feel like he represents me. He has too much aww shucks and he's way too pretty. I'd rather have a movie about Annette and Caroline with Alberto. Alberto and his wife has one great scene. Otherwise, the movie is slow-moving with limited tension.
  • comment
    • Author: Tam
    Greetings again from the darkness. Geoffrey Rush is such a uniquely talented performer that I wouldn't hesitate to walk into any of his projects with little hint as to the subject matter. He is simply that good at what he does. Here he plays renowned Swiss sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti, a man Rush seems destined to play given their quite similar physical appearances. It's a 90 minute joy ride (though it's not really joyful) for anyone who enjoys watching an artist work ... or in this case, an artist working as an artist.

    Writer-director Stanley Tucci is best known for his acting career, and he also has an eye for the camera and clearly admires Giacometti and his work. Set in 1964 Paris, most of the film takes place in Giacometti's shabby little compound that includes his studio and a bedroom he sometimes shares with his wife Annette (Sylvie Testud). Occasional forays take us to his favorite café, or walks through the city by his latest portrait subject, the American art writer James Lord (Armie Hammer). In fact, the film is based on Mr. Lord's memoir "A Giacometti Portrait", which details his experience posing for the master ... a task that was originally promised to last a couple of hours, and turned into 3 weeks.

    Also appearing are Tony Shalhoub as Diego, the artist's brother and assistant, and Clemence Poesy (IN BRUGES) as Caroline, a local prostitute who also serves as Giacometti's muse. It's a fine and talented cast, but this just as easily could have been a one-actor play. Rush plays the lead as a typical artist in shambles - one who cares as little for relationships as he does about money, clothes and appearances. He's perpetually rumpled with mussed hair and a dangling cigarette being his sole accessory.

    He is both charming and miserable, sometimes in the same breath - unwittingly pitting his forlorn wife against his more pampered muse ... never more obvious than when comparing gifts of a new dress versus a new BMW. Much of the time on screen is spent in the daily ritual: adjusting the chair just so, Lord sitting down and assuming the pose, an artistic gaze cast, followed by the careful selection of a particular brush. More often than not, Giacometti mutters an "Ahh F***", and proceeds to start over (and over and over). An honored yet frustrated Mr. Lord is forced into numerous flight reschedules, as time means nothing to an artist.

    Director Tucci shoots through the smudged window panes more than once, and when Giacometti tells Lord, "I'll never be able to paint you as I see you", it really captures the tortured madness and brilliance of such an amazing artist. He doesn't see the world the way most of us do, and that's what sets his art apart. Of course the personal toll on the man and those around him is quite high ... Giacometti passed away less than two years after the Lord portrait.
  • comment
    • Author: Jozrone
    The time is 1964. The place is Paris. The specific locale is an art studio at 46 Rue Hippolyte Maindron. This is dowdy living and working environment of the Giacometti brothers, Diego and Alberto.

    The film focuses on the craft of Alberto Giacometti, as he enlists the homosexual author James Lord to sit for a portrait. The film is intended as a kind of love letter to Giacometti, as told by Lord thinking back on his experience sitting for the great Swiss artist.

    Geoffrey Rush gives another one of his quirky performances as the eccentric artist. Rush's portrait is that of an artist plagued by self-doubts in his own abilities and of a human being that is callous to those around him. His insecurity and insensitivity leads to a frustrating pattern of stopping and starting of the portrait of Lord. The frustration extends from the sitter James Lord to the audience attempting to make it to the end of this film.

    One of the flaws of the film is that the mundane idea of sitting for an artist was not made interesting. In "The Girl With the Pearl Earring," the relationship of Vermeer and the young woman who was his sitter was carefully detailed, which made the film intriguing. By contrast, "Final Portrait" was static without a clear motivation for Lord to keep coming back for the unpleasant sittings.

    There is an interesting moment in the film when Giacometti stops work on the Lord portrait to work on another painting of the prostitute Caroline. But when we see the portrait of Caroline, it looks exactly like that of the painting of Lord! The filmmakers failed to capture the artistic process where an artist of Giacometti's stature would have sought more completely to capture the soul of the sitter, leading to differences in the approaches to the two portraits.

    The shabby working conditions in the filthy studio and the erratic lifestyle of Giacometti made the film an uninspiring experience. Instead of seeking to capture the essence of the creative process of an artist, the final portrait of Alberto Giacometti was rather pathetic.
  • comment
    • Author: Amarin
    Brilliant artist deserving far better a movie than this one... Rush's "over-acting" : very annoying. Accents totally off...especially when he speaks french which sounds just like an Englishman and not an Italian speaking French absolutely HORRENDOUS! They could have found him two native speakers(FR/IT) and very easily coached him for those few lines... Also the fact that the director had him constantly cursing in English - why the hell not in Italian?! Porca miseria! Truly a poor and irritating film.
  • comment
    • Author: Roru
    A good one. and the basic motif is Geoffrey Rush who - not surprising - gives the expected Giacometti. the big problem - the fear of Stanley Tucci to make a portrait. only lines. only a decent and seductive sketch. who offers to the viewer many ways for imagine a better film. sure, it is a good invitation for discover the art of a great artist. but the relation between artist and his model is so fragil than nothing does the film more than a good first step. it is the film of Geoffrey Rush. a good thing. but, maybe, not enough.because the force of performance, the try of Armie Hammer to give substance to his character are only shy circles from a large show.
  • comment
    • Author: Binar
    I'm not saying that it was bad movie, but it ultimately failed to keep me watching it. After 2/3 of the movie I quit watching and it was indeed a good decision for me, as it bored me quite much. Unfortunately I wasn't familiar with the portrayed painter at all, but I not feeling that I want to know more about him.
  • Complete credited cast:
    Geoffrey Rush Geoffrey Rush - Alberto Giacometti
    Armie Hammer Armie Hammer - James Lord
    Tony Shalhoub Tony Shalhoub - Diego Giacometti
    Sylvie Testud Sylvie Testud - Annette Giacometti
    Clémence Poésy Clémence Poésy - Caroline
    James Faulkner James Faulkner - Pierre Matisse
    Kerry Shale Kerry Shale - Claude Martineau
    Annabel Mullion Annabel Mullion - Anne-Marie Frenaud
    Tim Dreisden Tim Dreisden - Café Waiter
    Takatsuna Mukai Takatsuna Mukai - Annette's Lover
    Philippe Spall Philippe Spall - Pimp
    Gaspard Caens Gaspard Caens - Pimp
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