Final Portrait review – lopsided Giacometti biopic

Geoffrey Rush is overly whimsical but this drama about the Swiss artist gets the look just right

That estimable actor Stanley Tucci has proved his directing ability with films including Big Night, but he doesn’t quite convince in an art-historical anecdote that could be titled The Agony and the Neurosis. It’s based on American writer James Lord’s memoir of sitting for a portrait by Alberto Giacometti, a process that took much longer than expected because of the Swiss artist’s perfectionist prevarication.

There’s the stuff of a terrific chamber piece here, but it’s drastically unbalanced by Geoffrey Rush’s showy whimsicality as the mercurial maestro. However, Armie Hammer brings a sustained, zen-like baseline of amused patience as Lord, while Tony Shalhoub and Sylvie Testud bring nuanced support.

The real star, however, is production designer James Merifield – you believe that Giacometti’s studio looked exactly like this, down to the last gummed-up paintbrush.

Watch a trailer for Final Portrait.


Jonathan Romney

The GuardianTramp

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