We gave it a B
The survivor is Francoise Gilot (McElhone), whose 10 years as Picasso’s mistress, starting in 1943 when she was 22, were often miserable, mostly because the artist (Hopkins, portraying Picasso in his 60s) couldn’t keep his hands off other women. In Ismail Merchant and James Ivory’s polite depiction of those undoubtedly volatile times, almost everyone, no matter what their extraction, has a British accent, which only emphasizes the film’s air of tepid Masterpiece Theatre gentility — especially in a home viewing. In Surviving Picasso, Hopkins easily suggests Picasso’s intelligence and egotism, but McElhone is stuck with a whiny character who eventually loses our sympathy. What should have been a rich canvas, glistening with l’amour fou, is curiously flat and colorless.