Movies You Might Have Missed: The Best Offer

Title: The Best Offer
Release Date: 2013
Rating: R
Length: 125 minutes
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Sylvia Hoeks
Language: English
Country: USA

I’ll put this right up front: this  movie has more nudity and sexual content than any other film on the list I’ve put together for these posts this year. The topic does figure into the plot and thus isn’t wholly gratuitous, but it would perhaps have been possible to include by indirect means the plot critical elements. On the other hand, I’m not a filmmaker. There are three scenes, each lasting longer than the one before. The last is a minute or more, though it is chopped into sections and interspersed with other shots as part of a flashback. This is also the most sexually explicit of the scenes. If you’re still here, then lets talk about the rest of movie.

It begins with Geoffrey Rush playing a confident, fastidious, and erudite art expert and auctioneer. He is also rather solitary and avoids social interaction quite a bit. He has two friends; the closer and older is played by Donald Sutherland and the younger by Jim Sturgess. Both are also employees or contractors he has hired. Sutherland conspires with him to buy art from auctions Rush administers that Rush desires. It is not always aboveboard. Sturgess’ character works at restoring metalwork and mechanical artifacts.

The plot gets started when a woman finally manages to get past Rush’s secretary and speak to him directly on the phone. She wants him to do a valuation and possibly an auction and insists on dealing directly with him. She has recently lost both her parents and plans to move to a smaller house. She refuses, however, to meet in person which angers and intrigues Rush. He discovers accidentally during the valuation that she is hidden in the house when he hears a ladder dropped by workmen both in person and over the phone on which he is speaking to her. It appears that she is agoraphobic and won’t enter a room with other people and hasn’t done so in years.

Rush is particularly lonely for female companionship (no euphemism!) and their respective isolations resonate and instigate a burgeoning romance. Their neuroses make it awkward and rocky, but Rush perseveres with advice from Sturgess. There are further twists and turns, and it’s not a wholly happy ending, but it is appropriate and satisfying, I think. There’s enough mystery, enough resolution, and enough surprise to make it enjoyable. There’s more depth and complexity than I’ve mentioned (no spoilers!), but the film is well-written, well-acted, and beautiful to watch.

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