Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Ronald Harwood and Andrea Berloff
Produced by Tom Cruise, Kathleen Wagner
Music by James Newton Howard
Max Von Sydow (Simon Oleg)
Lauren Bacall (Diana Oleg)
Paul Dano (Mark Bristan)
Donald Sutherland (Dr. Newwaunder)
Drew Barrymore (Kelsie Oleg)
Ashton Holmes (Bryan)
Tagline: "The greatest beauty is the thing that you’ll never find"
Synopsis: Mark Bristan (Paul Dano) is a struggling artist fresh out of school looking for a job. His paintings are receiving less and less acclaim, with the only person buying them being Kelsie Oleg (Drew Barrymore). Kelsie is an airline magazine editor who searches for mediocre art to put into the periodical. One day, Kelsie notices that Mark is running out of money and offers him a job to be an assistant to her ailing father, Simon Oleg (Max Von Sydow), a sculptor who became famous during the French New Wave. But as the years went on, Simon became less important and quickly fizzled out in New York City hoping that something inspirational will come to him, learning quickly that it is a hard dream to attain. Mark eagerly accepts.
The job consists of driving Simon to his doctor’s (Donald Sutherland) for a weekly update on his progressing brain tumor, reciting the newspaper, and a usually one-sided discussion about the state of art in the modern world. Simon’s domineering and grumpy disposition haunts every act of help that Mark tries to bring on the old man. Occasionally, Diana (Lauren Bacall), Simon’s wife who is falling deeper into dementia every day, starts fights with her husband over an affair he had that ended nearly thirty years earlier. But Mark puts up with all of it, looking for the intellectual revelation he wishes will come, and while courting a barrista (Ashton Holmes) at the nearest Starbuck’s, where he is sent four times a day to get Diana a coffee she had already asked for several times.
Mark slowly comes to respect Simon and feel sympathy for him for losing his passion for art. After a few months of playing butler to Simon, Mark makes it his mission to shed some light into Simon’s artistic mind, giving them both something to create from the heart. “Masterpiece” is a touching, cinematic journey into the world of rediscovery and redemption.
What the Press would say:
In a study of humanity and new discoveries, Marc Forster helms “Masterpiece”, the story about a young man and his mentor as they both battle the hardships of trying to become famous. From a script by Ronald Harwood and Andrea Berloff, the film follows Mark, who agrees to supervise Simon Oleg, an aging artist who never got to be as good as he wanted. Max Von Sydow stars as Simon Oleg in the role he was born to play. Von Sydow transforms into the character and expresses his grief for not trying harder when he was at his prime. The sadness that permeate from his eyes is so strong that it kills you everytime you see them. Paul Dano takes on the role of Mark Bristan, a gay college graduate who needs money to start his own art gallery. Mark aids Simon whenever he needs it and deals with all the anger and resentment that Simon shows towards youth and promise. Dano’s calm performance never goes into flamboyancy, even when Mark is flirting with a possibly straight Starbuck’s barrista. But the most disturbing and saddening performance in the entire film comes from the legend of Lauren Bacall, who plays Simon’s wife that suffers from extreme dementia. Frequently, Mark is forced to heed to her proposterous demands and she ends up yelling at him anyway. But the best part of her performance comes in the moments when she coldly accuses her husband of having an affair, a conversation they had thirty years earlier which plays on repeat in her mind. Overall, “Masterpiece” is a masterpiece that offers a view into the most emotional parts of the human mind.
Best Director-Marc Forster
Best Original Screenplay
Best Actor-Max Von Sydow
Best Supporting Actor-Paul Dano
Best Supporting Actress-Lauren Bacall