Stepping behind the camera for the first time in a decade, writer-director Stanley Tucci (The Children Act, Spotlight) mines the complexities of the artistic process through an intimate study of the uneven relationship between artist and subject in Final Portrait.
Famed Swiss sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush; The Daughter, The King’s Speech) invited his old friend, American author and art critic James Lord (Armie Hammer; Call Me by Your Name), to pose for a portrait over the course of two weeks in 1964. In the artist’s ramshackle studio, a cramped nook tucked away in a back alley in Paris, the portrait session is initially supposed to take “only a few hours;” however, as the perfectionist Giacometti agonizes over detail and form, the young Lord must return day after day, postponing his return to New York.
The two men could not be more different; Lord remains fondly curious and courteous, polite and scholarly even in the face of inconvenience and delay, while Giacometti is wild, at once exuberant and despondent in his out-of-control creative fervour. Giacometti’s relationship with his wife and former muse (Sylvie Testud, La vie en rose) is similarly tumultuous, as she watches her husband fawn over a young Parisian sex worker (Clémence Poésy, In Bruges) who has become his new source of creative inspiration. Yet, the bond between husband and wife is not so easily broken after decades of shared life and artistic exploration.
Bringing the grandiose struggle of the artist to an impressively intimate level, Final Portrait frames the relationship between creator and subject as the most vital framework through which to understand the art and the artist, the ethereal works of beauty and the deeply human experiences which inspire them.
“In Final Portrait, Stanley Tucci takes the biopic to an even more exquisitely homespun level of miniature close-up. Rush and Tucci create a captivating portrait of an artist who’s at once elated, haunted, and utterly possessed.” (Owen Gleiberman, Variety)
“It’s a highly entertaining portrait of the two men, and Tucci’s own directorial brush strokes are bold and invigorating.” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)
“A stellar performance from Geoffrey Rush centres this diverting glimpse into the chaotic life of a great artist.” (Phillip Kemp, Total Film)