August 6, 2018  (Web Review)

Final Portrait

Sony, 90 min., R, DVD: $25.99, July 31

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

A slight but engaging film about the peculiarities of the artistic temperament, actor-turned-director Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait is based on art critic James Lord’s 1965 memoir A Giacometti Portrait, about his sitting for a painting by renowned artist and sculptor Alberto Giacometti in his ramshackle Paris studio. The running joke is that while Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) promised Lord (Armie Hammer)—who was about to fly back to New York—that the project would only take a couple of hours, it actually dragged on for weeks as the artist repeatedly obliterated the work in dissatisfaction and Lord was forced to postpone his departure again and again, not wanting to offend the great man, but also growing increasingly irritated over the delay. And it is not merely the painting, along with the artist’s penchant for breaking off work for long walks and lunches, that slow things down; Giacometti’s domestic turmoil, involving his long-suffering wife (Sylvie Testud) and his coquettish mistress (Clémence Poésy)—the latter a perky but demanding prostitute serving as his new muse—also distract him. Watching everything with a bemused air, but also determined not to get involved, is Giacometti’s brother Diego (Tony Shalhoub). Tucci has fashioned an affectionate portrait of the artist as an immensely talented eccentric, but it is Rush who brings the zest with one of his most flamboyant performances to date. Recommended. [Note: DVD extras include cast and crew interviews (51 min.), and behind-the-scenes clips (10 min.). Bottom line: a solid extras package for this actor’s showcase film.] (F. Swietek)