Surviving Picasso (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Surviving Picasso (1996)

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Movie Info

This unusual biography of the renowned Spanish artist Pablo Picasso is a Merchant-Ivory film. The team of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has been responsible for many period dramas, including A Room with a View and Howard's End. The story of Picasso's remarkable misanthropy is told as experienced by his mistress Francoise Gilot (Natasha McElhone). Francoise was Picasso's lover from 1944 to 1954, and they had two children together, Claude and Paloma. The film shows Picasso (Anthony Hopkins) as a notorious womanizer, with flashbacks revealing his relationships with his wife Olga (Jane Lapotaire), the artist Dora Marr (Julianne Moore), and Marie-Therese Walter (Susannah Harker), an earthy type who sees the artist only on Sundays. Hopkins powerfully portrays Picasso as an artistic genius with an appalling habit of using and abusing women. He not only cheats on his wife but two-times his mistresses. Francoise has survived an abusive relationship with her father (Bob Peck), and she is 40 years younger than Picasso when they become lovers. The film was supposed to be based on Gilot's book Life with Picasso, but the filmmakers were unable to get the rights to it, so they settled for basing the film on Arianna Huffington's Picasso: Creator and Destroyer. The movie also uses imitations rather than Picasso's real paintings. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi
Rating:
R (adult situations/language)
Genre:
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Home Video

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Cast

Anthony Hopkins
as Pablo Picasso
Natascha McElhone
as Francoise Gilot
Julianne Moore
as Dora Maar
Susannah Harker
as Marie-Therese Walter
Joss Ackland
as Henri Matisse
Peter Eyre
as Sabartes
Jane Lapotaire
as Olga Picasso
Joseph Maher
as Kahnweiler
Bob Peck
as Francoise's Father
Joan Plowright
as Francoise's Grandmother
Dennis Boutsikaris
as American Art Dealer
Peter Gerety
as Picasso's Driver
Dominic West
as Paulo Picasso
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Critic Reviews for Surviving Picasso

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (7)

...a stunning debut by Natascha McElhone...

Full Review… | April 29, 2005
Variety
Top Critic

Ambition notwithstanding, Surviving Picasso fails prodigiously, mostly out of its own confusion over who it is about and what it wants to say.

Full Review… | January 10, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

Covers ten turbulent years in the life of this major luminary of 20th century art.

Full Review… | August 28, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Surviving Picasso

A very odd film, but what not to expect from Pablo Picasso? I never knew anything about him besides some of his work, so as a viewer I'd have to say I didn't like his lifestyle of being so polygamous with women. Everyone did well in the acting part, saying both Francoise and Picasso did excellent. I had a few moments laughing at Anthony Hopkins because I know him for strict serious roles. Natascha played a very strong woman, when really made me think about my own life a bit if I were in Francoise's shoes. I myself am an artist, so looking at the lifestyle of then and now really differ but then again have a lot of similarities. I have to say I was not at all satisfied with the ending, because I wanted to see what else happened to Francoise, and just wanting to see if Picasso would treat her like the rest of the women. Of course I saw some passion in his eyes still, which led me on and didn't expect the credits to roll at that point, thinking there was or had to be more leaving me at the end of the credits' black screen. I will say it was a good biography if hoping the story is a true one, and if so I feel bad for the two's children. I would have liked to see where they went off to as well, but I guess that's up to me to read on about Picasso and Francoise on my own. I thought this movie was just alright, it didn't have a huge impact to my interests though the actors and actresses were all portrayed very well. It was interesting hearing Julianne speak in an accent as well. I would recommend this to people who are interested in Picasso, but someone who wouldn't be might not enjoy this so much.

Angela Hylia
Angela Hylia

This movie isn't even about Picasso. It would have been nice to see Hopkins tackle an actual biopic, but this is a bastardized and misplaced attempt at an inaccurate romantic drama. Instead of watching a movie about Picasso and his evolution as an artist, we instead follow the life story of a coat-tail riding girlfriend. It is boring, tedious, unbearably overlong, and just focuses on the most unnecessary and trivial things in an extremely interesting and inspirational life. Surprisingly, the acting is a major flaw. Hopkins does not exude the ere of Picasso, who while confident and sometimes boisterous, was often introverted and very sensitive. McElhone is ok, but for some reason, she instead of Hopkins is counted on to carry the film, and her act wears pretty thin in a 2 hour plus movie. The direction is wandering, aimless and focus-less, which given the plot, fits right in. (That was not a complement). The script is heavy, and bogs down the already questionable interplay between the actors. I did enjoy a few things, particularly the interplay between Picasso and his friend/rival Henri Matesse, which was one of the few accurate points in the story. Above all the acting/script/direction problems is the story. I can overlook some of the above weaknesses if I'm given an entertaining plot. But this is dry, self-important, going nowhere dribble. There is little to no time spent on Picasso as far as his artistic development, genius or inspiration. There is little to no time spent on Picasso as an artist at all. Picasso the ARTIST is where a Picasso movie becomes worthwhile, not Picasso the womanizing douche.

Julian Toepfer
Julian Toepfer

This movie isn't even about Picasso. It would have been nice to see Hopkins tackle an actual biopic, but this is a bastardized and misplaced attempt at an inaccurate romantic drama. Instead of watching a movie about Picasso and his evolution as an artist, we instead follow the life story of a coat-tail riding girlfriend. It is boring, tedious, unbearably overlong, and just focuses on the most unnecessary and trivial things in an extremely interesting and inspirational life. Surprisingly, the acting is a major flaw. Hopkins does not exude the ere of Picasso, who while confident and sometimes boisterous, was often introverted and very sensitive. McElhone is ok, but for some reason, she instead of Hopkins is counted on to carry the film, and her act wears pretty thin in a 2 hour plus movie. The direction is wandering, aimless and focus-less, which given the plot, fits right in. (That was not a complement). The script is heavy, and bogs down the already questionable interplay between the actors. I did enjoy a few things, particularly the interplay between Picasso and his friend/rival Henri Matesse, which was one of the few accurate points in the story. Above all the acting/script/direction problems is the story. I can overlook some of the above weaknesses if I'm given an entertaining plot. But this is dry, self-important, going nowhere dribble. There is little to no time spent on Picasso as far as his artistic development, genius or inspiration. There is little to no time spent on Picasso as an artist at all. Picasso the ARTIST is where a Picasso movie becomes worthwhile, not Picasso the womanizing douche.

Julian Toepfer
Julian Toepfer

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