Surviving Picasso


Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 18
  2. Negative: 2 out of 18

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Critic Reviews

  1. Freed from the slavishness of most authorized biography, the film makers try bold strokes.
  2. An absorbing look at emotional tyranny, with a great screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
  3. Cool, assured, emotionally remote, Merchant Ivory's Surviving Picasso is never less than watchable, but it's also a cinematic paradox, a movie that works to capture Picasso from every angle yet somehow misses the fire in his belly.
  4. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Surviving Picasso is always intelligent and often entertaining, even when it perhaps inevitably takes on the character of an upmarket wax museum. [4 Oct 1996]
  5. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Surviving Picasso is an intelligent, beautifully crafted and engrossing Ismail Merchant-James Ivory biographical portrait of the century's most famous and successful painter. [4 Oct 1996]
  6. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Obviously armed with more gangster-of-love opportunities playing Pablo Picasso than he had playing Richard Nixon, Anthony Hopkins ends up opting here for wit over full-blooded passion, but it proves to be enough. [23 Sep 1996]
  7. 70
    Latest Merchant Ivory production (produced with David Wolper) is a winner in spite of relatively modern look to the film.
  8. Surviving Picasso is quite well made and easy enough to watch, but it's not noticeably challenging or involving.
  9. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    Reviewed by: William Arnold
    Hopkins' Picasso is a first-rate performance.... With his intense stare, his air of subtle lechery, and his life-devouring zest, he not only looks uncannily like the real Picasso, he was actually able to convince me that he was Picasso. [4 Oct 1996]
  10. 63
    The movie breaks down into anecdotes that don't flow or build, and everything is narrated by the Gilot character.
  11. A big, silly movie about the famed goatish painter that stars the nearly perfect Anthony Hopkins.
  12. This movie is a dreary endurance test.
  13. Not a movie that needs to exist, but it passes the time, and at least Hopkins manages to look like Picasso at odd moments.
  14. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Tim Appelo
    Surviving Picasso is tasteful, more expensive-looking than it really is, and not nearly as lengthy as it feels. [18 Oct 1996]
  15. 40
    Producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala bring the customary polish, but no pizzazz, to this simplistic portrait of the artist as a dirty old man.
  16. Surviving Picasso falters in its careless structure.
  17. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Surviving Picasso is flat-out dull, hanging like a K Mart print in a suburban mall - a testament to Merchant-Ivory's blew-it period. [20 Sep 1996]
  18. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Not to put too fine a point on it, Surviving Picasso is merely the worst movie ever made about a painter; worse movies have been made on other subjects, though none comes immediately to mind. [20 Sep 1996]

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