Armie Hammer is Gay For Pay Yet Again in a New Docudrama, Final Portrait

Written by | Entertainment, Screen

final portrait

Image courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

Armie Hammer plays gay for at least the third time in his career (J. Edgar, Call Me By Your Name) in Stanley Tucci’s first directorial effort in ten years. However Final Portrait is scarcely concerned with the sexuality of his character — noted art writer James Lord — it’s hinted at almost accidentally in the middle of the film’s tight 90-minutes. Rather, the focus is on Lord’s odd and seemingly interminable encounter with Swiss-Italian artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush), unquestionably one of the great sculptors of the 20th century. When Giacometti  (who is also a painter) declares that he wants to paint Lord’s portrait, it is impossible for art lover Lord to decline, even as one day of sitting for the artist turns into two days — then weeks, and a month. Giacometti is never satisfied with his work, frequently whiting it out to start over even when it seems nearly finished. Suddenly Giacometti will throw down his brushes, curse in his luxurious Italian drawl, and soon he and his assistant/brother (Tony Shalhoub) will be conferencing — shaking their heads and declaring that Giacometti has nearly gotten somewhere, and  maybe  with one week more it will be closer to something worthwhile. The impeccably well-mannered Lord finds his patience tested, though he also seems to appreciate the show he is getting from the artist, who seeems to be in a tempestuous state of perpetual motion and constantly smoking. Giacometti loves his elegant wife but also adores his mistress, a prostitute (Clémence Poésy – In Bruges) who owns every scene she blows through like a playful sprite. And that’s all — eventually the portrait is done (though never truly finished), Lord goes back to his life and Giacometti to his death some months later. But we see none of that. Still, what we do see is more than enough: Lord filling out a suit in the way that only Armie Hammer can — looking indescribably cool as he witnesses and later writes about  the details, which Tucci clearly has such a strong eye for. THE WORD: There is no plot, and I’ve rarely seen a film needing one less. COMING TO: Theaters

Last modified: March 19, 2018

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