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David Hugh Jones
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In 1943, a young painter, Françoise Gilot (1921- ) meets Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), already the most celebrated artist in the world. For the next ten years, she is his mistress, bears him two children, is his muse, and paints within his element. She also learns slowly about the other women who have been or still are in his life: Dora Maar, Marie- Thérèse (whose daughter is Picasso's), and Olga Koklowa, each of whom seems deeply scarred by their life with Picasso. Gilot's response is to bring each into her relationship with Picasso. How does one survive Picasso? She keeps painting, and she keeps her good humor and her independence. When the time comes, she has the strength to leave. Written by
I liked this movie quite a bit. It is not a very flattering portrait of the master, but it gives one insight into his art. Anthony Hopkins gives a convincing portrayal of the bad and the good qualities of the man. He had a charming playfulness about him which the women in his life fell for despite themselves and the knowledge of his reputation. Of course, his dark side was his maniacal desire for control of his women's lives, even after the romantic sides of their relationship had long since died. My question about those women is why they went out of their way to get into a relationship with him, knowing he had already ruined the lives of others. Francoise, the main character, thought herself strong enough to stave off any emotional harm he could do her, but when you get into a romantic relationship with someone, your reason disappears. Nobody's strong enough to not be hurt by someone they are emotionally involved with. The trick is to meet only the people who you feel reasonably sure will not do you harm. One would think an intelligent woman like Francoise would know that. If this were a piece of fiction, I would find it hard to believe, but given that the movie is based on fact.... This knowledge added a great deal to the intrigue of the movie, and a great deal of depth to the characters.
The acting is first-rate. I've seen a few of the other movies in which Natascha McElHone has acted, but those parts were not large enough to show her range. I was extremely impressed. She has a very expressive face, capable of portraying an entire pallet of emotions, and, most importantly, she is obviously an intelligent woman, capable of convincingly playing an intellectual. Of course, the fact that she is elegantly drop-dead gorgeous has not colored my emotions about her performance one bit.
Hopkins as usual does a brilliant job. I have never seen him express ebullience as he does here. He does a good job of showing how charming Picasso could be, supplying some motivation for why women fell for him, knowing his infamous past.
Seeing this movie lent new meaning to some of his paintings which I have seen recently. There is a portrait of Dorra Marr (sp?) in the Belissario Hotel in Las Vegas. One half of it portrays a happy woman, the other half is tinged with sadness. I now know the story behind this painting, making it all the more memorable. Like the first reviewer, I'm not a big fan of Picasso, but knowing what lies behind some of his paintings will add interest in the future.
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