I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to watch movies like this, with a bit slower pace, hints of potential boredom and possibly, a love story. Maybe because I watched so many pretentious and crappy dramas, or I just don’t want to think after a busy day. Whatever the reasons may be, they have nothing to do with this masterpiece, this work of art about works of art. All of my inhibitions and doubts about this movie have fallen about five minutes in. The cast, comprised of experienced and established actors who are still pushing themselves to give that performance of a lifetime, was a pleasure to watch. Led by magnificent Geoffrey Rush, these people could easily pose as art experts and I would never even think to doubt them or their judgment.
Virgil Oldman is an eccentric and somewhat odd director of an auction house that bears his name. Extremely rich and accustomed to his every whim being fulfilled, he is a loner that has arranged his life in a way that suits him most. His only friend and accomplice is Billy Whistler, an older gentleman who helps him “acquire” works of art that are intended for his personal collection. This smooth sailing in the sea of tranquility and enjoyment will be cut short by a phone call from a potential client. Her name is Claire, and about a year after the death of her parents she decided to sell their possessions that supposedly should hold some very valuable items.
I know what you’re thinking, oh my god, now he’s going to evaluate those items and they are going to fall in love and yadda yadda. Trust me, this movie is worth your time, no matter how busy are you. It is an exquisite and delicious treat that will pleasure you not just visually, but also with a beautiful score by Ennio Morricone. And once you get hooked, the time will fly. There’s been a lot of movies recently that are describing “quirky” teenagers and adults, but if you are interested to see some old school, high class quirkiness meet Mr. Virgil Oldman. You will feel like you know him. The Best Offer offers an insider’s view of the world of auctioning, that is one of those things that you never imagined you will find interesting, but you will. Enjoy this simply beautiful movie.
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Writer: Giuseppe Tornatore
Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Donald Sutherland, Philip Jackson, Sylvia Hoeks, John Benfield, Liya Kebede
Fun Facts: Several works of art are shown during the movie. The painting that gets restored is “Portrait of a Young Girl” (ca. 1470) by Petrus Christus. Among the works studied by Oldman there is also “Birth of Venus” (1879) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Among the female portraits in his collection, one can spot: “Portrait of a Young Woman (La Fornarina)” (ca. 1519) and “Portrait of a Young Woman (La Muta)” (1507) by Raphael, “Violante” (ca. 1515) and “La Bella” (1536) by Titian, “Portrait of Eleaonor of Toledo” (1560) and “Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi” (1541) by Bronzino, “Portrait of Caterina Sforza” (ca. 1490) by Lorenzo di Credi, “Zingarella” (1505) by Boccaccio Boccaccino, “Lady with a Book of Petrarch’s Rhyme” (ca. 1528) by Andrea del Sarto, “Portrait of Bianca Cappello” (ca. 1572) by Alessandro Allori, “Portrait of Elspeth Tucher” (1499) by Albrecht Dürer, and “Jeanne Samary in a Low-Necked Dress (La Rêverie)” (1877) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. There are also works of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Pieter Paul Rubens, Francisco Goya, Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Amedeo Modigliani, Morgan Weistling, and many others