“You’re my husband’s next victim.”
That he was. And so were all of us.
Directed by Stanley Tucci, Final Portrait delivers a miniscule insight into Alberto Giacometti’s life, specifically the period in which he’d worked on a portrait of American writer James Lord.
Set in 1964, Lord (Armie Hammer) accepts an invitation from Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) to sit for a quick portrait, intending to depart for New York the next day. However, an afternoon turns into weeks as Lord finds himself caught up in Giacometti’s artistic process of being perfectly unsatisfied.
Final Portrait seeks to highlight the trials and tribulations behind an artist’s creative process as they strive to share with others how they themselves see the world. Giacometti admits that a portrait can never be complete, which he makes obvious through the constant aggravation he expresses for his art and his need to cancel all of his progress and repeatedly begin again on his quest to perfectly capture his muse.
Unfortunately, prior to the viewing of this film I was completely unaware of Giocometti’s existence and had not once encountered any of his work. Regretfully, I admit that I am not well-versed with the arts nor am I able to appreciate any sort of ambiguity when it comes to art. While I did catch myself sniffling a chuckle or two at Lord’s relatable reactions towards Giocometti’s disgruntled behaviour throughout the entirety of the film, I must admit that it was thoroughly exasperating to witness Giocometti’s actions as an artist.
I found his character to be thoroughly selfish and insufferable. From his inability to adhere to fixed deadlines to the mistreatment of his dear wife; it was absolutely remarkable how one man could act with such lack of consideration for others, all for the sake of ‘perfecting one’s art’. It was impossible not to marvel at the irony of an artist—who strived to share his vision with the world—but could not have been more selfish.
Final Portrait certainly isn’t a film for everyone. For those who are fans of Alberto Giacometti’s work, this film is a must. Many will appreciate the fact that this film concentrates on Giacometti’s latter years and provides an insight into his day-to-day life. However, for those who yearn for a film with plot development, I’d suggest you give this film a miss, because watching Final Portrait is as dull as watching paint dry.