24 September 2001 | amjets0912
Slow, but worth the time investment...
Max (Martin Landau), an aging classically trained artist, has been trying to paint the perfect portrait for 40 years, but has always failed because he cannot capture in his own work what he saw in another. He rents his lifelong friend Kate's (Ellen Burstyn) garage as an apartment/studio, gives art lessons to an eager young artist and tries in vain to sell his work at the local gallery. Max has never married, and there is a part of him that would like to recapture his youth. He finds a lovely young woman (Ione Skye) to pose for him, and while he thinks he's found his inspiration, he is left unsatisfied when the picture is completed. When Kate's male admirer commissions Max to paint a portrait of Kate, Max slooooooowly begins to realize what inspired the artist who painted the portrait he so admired 40 years earlier.
Despite the low rating my fellow IMDb users gave this film, I rather enjoyed it. The pace is very slow, but if you focus on the central story between Max and Kate, I think you'll find it touching. The peripheral stories involving the young model and the art student are secondary. Although I've never particularly cared for Martin Landau's work, I found him perfectly tolerable here. Ellen Burstyn has never disappointed me with a performance and there is always something in her eyes that touches my soul. She's one of the best, and a good reason to watch almost any movie.