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Film Review: Armie Hammer Sits for Geoffrey Rush in ‘Final Portrait’

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CHICAGO – Paris in the 1960s seems to be a place where anything was possible. “Final Portrait” is an indication of this, as Armie Hammer portrays a Mad Men style American critic (what!) in 1964, who sits for a portrait painting by eccentric artist Alberto Giacometti, portrayed with relish by Geoffrey Rush.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The film is written and directed by actor Stanley Tucci, and is his fifth directorial effort. And he brings along one of the lucky performers from his first film, “Big Night,” an unrecognizable Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”). The film – based on a true story – is deliberately paced, expressing the more leisurely and deeply felt times. One of the funnier bits is Hammer’s character constantly changing his airline flight as the portrait sitting goes on, something that may be impossible with such ease today (or with many fees attached). This is mostly a fascinating character study, as Geoffrey Rush has an instinct for creating eccentricity with the smallest of gestures. Even though the picture fades out rather than ends, it still resonates with the clash of the fine artist versus the writer… everybody wins.

Paris in 1964 is the perfect refuge for American critic and writer James Lord (Armie Hammer). In his overview of the city’s art scene, he happens to meet the Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush). The artist compliments the writer by asking him to sit for a portrait painting. Lord agrees, and finds himself in a situation that evolves into something akin to a trap.

Giacometti initially told Lord that the sitting would only be a few days. But the weeks go by, and the writer – who had intended to go home to New York City – is stuck with his commitment. In the meantime, he observes the artist’s wacky life, which includes his wife Annette (Sylvie Testud) and mistress Caroline (Clémence Poésy). One sane person seems to be Alberto’s brother Diego (Tony Shaloub), and he may have a solution out of the endless portrait sitting.

“Final Portrait” continued its limited release in Chicago on March 30th. See local listings for other theaters and show times. Featuring Armie Hammer, Geoffrey Rush, Tony Shalhoub, Clémence Poésy, James Faulkner and Sylvie Testud. Written and directed by Stanley Tucci. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Final Portrait”

James Lord (Armie Hammer) and Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) in ‘Final Portrait’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Final Portrait”

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