The Best Offer

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The Best Offer
The Best Offer.jpg
Theatrical release poster
ItalianLa migliore offerta
Directed byGiuseppe Tornatore
Produced byIsabella Cocuzza
Arturo Paglia
Written byGiuseppe Tornatore
Music byEnnio Morricone
CinematographyFabio Zamarion
Edited byMassimo Quaglia
Paco Cinematografica
Warner Bros.
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • 1 January 2013 (2013-01-01)
Running time
131 minutes
Budget$18 million[1]
Box office$20,489,700[2][3]

The Best Offer (Italian: La migliore offerta – entitled Deception in the UK) is a 2013 English-language Italian psychological thriller film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. The film stars Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Sylvia Hoeks, and Donald Sutherland. The music score was composed by Ennio Morricone.


The film tells a story of love and deceit, set in Europe - in the world of ultra high-end art auctions and antiques. The story revolves around Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush), an ageing, wealthy, and esteemed, but somewhat standoffish and eccentric, managing director of a preeminent auction house. Oldman is hired by a mysterious young heiress, Claire Ibbetson (Sylvia Hoeks), to auction off the large collection of art and antiques left to her by her parents. Claire always refuses to be seen in person, suffering from severe agoraphobia and never leaving her room. She decided to trust Oldman though as he suffers himself from OCD. Soon enough Virgil, a lifelong bachelor who is able to relate to her reclusiveness, understands that he has fallen in love with her.

An astute young artificer, Robert (Jim Sturgess), aids Oldman in restoring and reassembling some odd mechanical parts that he finds among Claire's belongings, while also giving him advice on how to befriend her, and how to deal with his feelings towards her. Oldman's poise and prestige are counterpointed by an ongoing scam whereby his friend Billy Whistler (Donald Sutherland) helps him acquire a large private collection of master portraits worth many millions, by presenting them at auction as the work of other artists. Billy is an aspiring artist himself, but Oldman does not take Billy's work seriously.

A side narrative involves Virgil discovering a moldy, charred piece of wood at another client's mansion. Professional restoration reveals a painting underneath which Virgil falsely states is by a 16th-century forger who, unable to reveal herself as female, simply signs paintings as "V". Virgil notes to these other clients that all forgers are irresistibly tempted to modify the original, which reveals the forger's own artistic sensibilities. At auction, the painting is sold for £90,000, but after Virgil explains to Billy he knew that it was, in fact, an original worth some £8 million, Billy buys the painting for Virgil from its original buyer for £250,000.

Oldman eventually begins a relationship with Ibbetson, compromising his work. At the peak of the relationship, Claire overcomes her fear of the outside world and Virgil lies aside his gloves. Claire goes on to live with Virgil, who trusts the fragile Claire enough to show her his secret priceless collection of female portraits. Overcome with emotion, Claire tells Virgil that no matter what may happen to the two of them, she does love him. Virgil returns home one day to find that his entire collection and Claire are gone. In the vault is an automaton constructed from the mechanical parts Virgil gave to Robert, which plays a message from Robert saying there is something real in every forgery and that is why Robert will truly miss Virgil. Virgil realizes that he is the victim of an elaborate fraud conducted by Robert, Claire, and Billy, but is unable to go to the police due to the illicit means by which Virgil himself acquired the pieces. After months of recovering from the betrayal in a mental institution, Virgil takes a trip to Prague, where he spends time sitting in a restaurant that Claire had once suggested. The restaurant was filled with clocks, a reminder to his OCD. He sits there waiting alone at a table wondering if Claire's statement of love was forged or a genuine sentiment she imparted on the con.


  • Geoffrey Rush as Virgil Oldman, prestigious auctioneer
  • Jim Sturgess as Robert, tinker and mechanical repairman
  • Sylvia Hoeks as Claire Ibbetson, reclusive heiress
  • Donald Sutherland as Billy Whistler, artist; friend of Virgil who helps him at auctions
  • Philip Jackson as Fred, caretaker of the Ibbetson mansion
  • Katie McGovern as art expert
  • Dermot Crowley as Lambert (Virgil's main assistant)
  • Liya Kebede as Sarah, Robert's girlfriend
  • Maximilian Dirr as Virgil's Assistant
  • Laurence Belgrave as Virgil's Assistant
  • Sean Buchanan as Virgil's Assistant
  • Kiruna Stamell as Claire, woman in the bar who keeps count of things
  • Anton Alexander as Real Estate Agent
  • John Benfield as Barman
  • Miles Richardson as Steirereck Maitre
  • James Patrick Conway as Steirereck Manager
  • Brigitte Christensen as First Daughter


The film was produced by Paco Cinematografica with support from the FVG (Friuli Venezia Giulia) Film Fund. Filming began in Trieste on April 30, 2012. For Tornatore this meant a return to Trieste: it was here he shot La Sconosciuta in 2005, with Xenia Rappoport. Filming took place in a period of five to six weeks in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Vienna, Prague, and South Tyrol.[4]


Critical reception[edit]

The Best Offer received mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 55%, with an average rating of 5.84/10, based on reviews from 33 critics.[5] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 49 (out of 100), based on reviews from 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6] Andrew Pulver of The Guardian rated it 2/5 stars and called it "stiff" and "convoluted".[7] Philippa Hawker of The Age rated it 3/5 stars and called it "handsome, yet austere".[8] Sandra Hall of the Brisbane Times rated it 4/5 stars and praised Geoffrey Rush's acting.[9] Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter called it "astutely written".[10] Variety called the film "superficial" and "clichéd", but predicted box office success.[1]

Box office[edit]

On the Italian opening weekend, the film grossed $2,496,402 from 373 theaters and debuted at number 2 on the box office chart, behind Us in the U.S.. It grossed $12,021,662 domestically and $8,468,038 overseas for a worldwide gross of $20,489,700.[2][3]


Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
58th David di Donatello Awards[11] Best Film Giuseppe Tornatore Won
Best Director Giuseppe Tornatore Won
Best Script Giuseppe Tornatore Nominated
Best Producer Isabella Cocuzza and Arturo Paglia Nominated
Best Cinematography Fabio Zamarion Nominated
Best Sets and Decorations Maurizio Sabatini and Raffaella Giovannetti Won
Best Costumes Maurizio Millenotti Won
Best Makeup Luigi Rocchetti Nominated
Best Hairstyling Stefano Ceccarelli Nominated
Best Editing Massimo Quaglia Nominated
Best Sound Gilberto Martinelli Nominated
Best Score Ennio Morricone Won
Youngs' David Giuseppe Tornatore Won
67th Silver Ribbon Awards[12] Best Director Giuseppe Tornatore Won
Best Producer Isabella Cocuzza and Arturo Paglia Won
Best Screenplay Giuseppe Tornatore Nominated
Best Cinematography Fabio Zamarion Nominated
Best Scenography Maurizio Sabatini and Raffaella Giovannetti Won
Best Costumes Maurizio Millenotti Won
Best Editor Massimo Quaglia Won
Best Sound Gilberto Martinelli Nominated
Best Score Ennio Morricone Won
53rd Italian Golden Globe[13] Best Cinematography Fabio Zamarion Nominated
Best Music Ennio Morricone Nominated
26th European Film Awards Best Film Giuseppe Tornatore Nominated
Best Director Giuseppe Tornatore Nominated
Best Screenwriter Giuseppe Tornatore Nominated
Best Composer Ennio Morricone Won
People's Choice Award Giuseppe Tornatore Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Review: "The Best Offer"". Variety. 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  2. ^ a b "La Migliore Offerta (The Best Offer)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  3. ^ a b "La Migliore Offerta (The Best Offer)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  4. ^ Scarpa, Vittoria (2012-04-05). "Tornatore shoots The Best Offer in Trieste". Retrieved 2012-11-17.
  5. ^ "The Best Offer (La Migliore Offerta) (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  6. ^ "The Best Offer". Metacritic. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Pulver, Andrew (2013-02-13). "The Best Offer – First Look Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  8. ^ Hawker, Philippa (2013-08-29). "The Best Offer review: Artistry in Fascination with Beauty". The Age. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  9. ^ Hall, Sandra (2013-08-29). "The Best Offer review: Perfect Frame to Display Rush's Talent". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  10. ^ Young, Deborah (2013-01-05). "The Best Offer: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  11. ^ Hombrebueno, Pierre (2013-06-15). "Giuseppe Tornatore's The Best Offer Wins Big at the Embarassing Italian Oscars". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 2013-09-13. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  12. ^ Lyman, Eric J. (2013-07-07). "'The Best Offer' Wins Big at Italy's Nastri d'Argento Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  13. ^ "Geoffrey Rush film sweeps Silver Ribbon awards". BBC News. 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-09-01.

External links[edit]