Actor Stanley Tucci has always been one of my favorite actors to watch at work. He’s bounced around since 1985 in every imaginable role, from 1987’s “Who’s That Girl” cast as “2nd Dock Worker” to “The Devil Wears Prada,” finally moving into the big money as “Caesar Flickerman” in “The Hunger Games.”

He slid into writing and directing with his delightful and charming “Big Night” in 1996, which he made with his friend Tony Shalhoub, the master of small touches.

Here Stanley is back with his film “Final Portrait,” a small movie full of “small” touches. For some films, like actors in them, are full of small touches. If they’re really well thought out, they can pile and become elegant … or not.

“Final Portrait,” set in 1964 in a Paris sans terrorists, is full of small touches, all delightful and charming. It is basically about the relationship between the famous sculptor/painter Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) and his friend and admirer, the sadly forgettable memoirist and photographer James Lord (Armie Hammer).

James Lord, who died at age 86 in 2009, was an intimate of Giacometti, Picasso and many others in the art world in Paris and wrote extensively about them.

In “Final Portrait,” taken from Lord’s memoir, we’re invited to a sitting. Giacometti has invited his friend Lord to sit for a portrait while the writer is in Paris on business. “It will only take a few hours, maybe a day or two, no more,” the painter says.

But given the irascible, self indulgent and procrastinating nature of this old Italian ham, as played all on low grumbly notes by Rush, such an outcome was doomed from the first stroke of his brush.

We learn that it actually took over 19 days (and for us, an hour and 30 minutes) for these two friends — a sputtering, grouchy old painter and a painfully bland, boring model sitting in a cold room — to complete the act.

Armie Hammer. I did not see Mr. Hammer’s “Call Me by Your Name,” but I was stunned by the banality of his “Lone Ranger” and his cold, almost invisible Clyde Tolson in “J. Edgar,” a blank-page role he was perfectly suited for.

Geoffrey Rush is of course an accomplished actor, well known for his portrayal of the speech teacher in “The King’s Speech” and for his great comic turn in “Shakespeare in Love.” Rush, never a major star, almost always works in small touches. We accept that because he produces elegance.

But here, as Giacometti, his small touches were neither elegant nor thought out. I could neither see, hear nor taste the faintest hint of the garlic, cheap cigarette and vin rouge breath of that fabled crazy artist.

Giacometti, like Henri Lautrec, had a taste for the company of “working girls.” One in particular, who haunted his dreams and working days, is played by Clemence Poesy, who delivers a wild and crazy prostitute at the top of her voice. She brings to mind the work of Zsa Zsa Gabor as Jane Avril in the1952 “Moulin Rouge” without that campy flair.

The wonderful Tony Shalhoub is here as Giacometti’s artist brother, with a quiet, suffering manner, few lines but pockets full of great small touches. Watch him unwrap a still wet piece of carving.

Sylvie Testud as Giacometti’s long suffering wife is delightful, an aging gamin desperate for the small touches she needs from this adulterous gnome she can’t stop loving. It’s impossible to ignore her. I have not seen her since her small but powerful role as Marion Cottilard’s best friend in Olivier Dahan’s 2007 “La Vie en Rose.” Bravo, Sylvie.

I left this film thinking, “If only Tucci had read Lara Feigel’s powerful piece on Giacometti in the April 2017 Guardian Magazine, ‘On the edge of madness: The terrors and genius of Alberto Giacometti,’ about a man who ‘drank with Sartre, mocked his friend Picasso and took silent late night walks with Samuel Beckett.'” That’s the movie Tucci should have made, full of small touches that would have left us with elegance.

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and film actor.

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