The Best Offer

Synopsis: In the world of high-end art auctions and antiques, Virgil Oldman is an elderly and esteemed but eccentric genius art-expert, known and appreciated by the world. Oldman is hired by a solitary young heiress, Claire Ibbetson, to auction off the large collection of art and antiques left to her by her parents. For some reason, Claire always refuses to be seen in person. Robert aids Oldman in restoring and reassembling some odd mechanical parts he finds amongst Claire's belongings, while also giving him advice on how to befriend her and deal with his feelings towards her. Also a friend of Oldman, Billy Whistler helps him to acquire a secret private collection of master paintings.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Giuseppe Tornatore
Production: IFC Films
  25 wins & 26 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
131 min

Pinewood marriage chest

with groove joinery

and hand-forged hinges in

the shape of tulip buds.

Walnut sideboard.

16th-century French decorations

of herms and

Griffin-shaped cartouches.

Embellished deplorably

in the 19th century.

A pair of oak veneer cabinets

in the Flemish style.

Upper section with two doors,

featuring carved anthropomorphic

figures and caryatids.

Something wrong, Mr. Oldman?

Is it important?

If you were kind enough to

let me have this as a gift,

I'd be delighted to accept.

I don't remember that.

It may look like mouldy wood,

but centuries ago,

beneath the mould,

there must have been a painting.

- Good evening. How are you?

- Very well.

The management and

staff of Styrorex

would like to offer our

best wishes, Mr. Oldman.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Oldman.

This year, our chefs wish

to dedicate in your honour

an ancient recipe of a

Renaissance dessert

made of choux cream

and bitter almonds.


- Most likely a rash.

- Lt must be that.

Was it not to your

taste, Mr. Oldman?

Quite the contrary, but you

see, my birthday is tomorrow.

It is now 10:
35pm and

I'm very superstitious.

Pretend I had accepted.

The day after tomorrow, then.

The director of the Vatican Museum

wants you to call him back.

The reliquary attributed

to Cellini, I presume.

The report on this is ready.

There's a pile of gifts.

What shall I do with them?

Send them to my house

except the mobile.

Only one this year.

Good. Word's out

that I hate them.

Unless you've changed your habits,

you'll have to answer that.

It's the first call

on your birthday.



I have no wish to

waste your time.

- Who's speaking?

- It's me, Claire Ibbetson.

Please don't hang up on me.

You're Mr. Oldman's

secretary, aren't you?

You can speak to me. It

makes no difference.

You see, I... I don't know

anybody. I'm on my own.

I'm sorry, Miss lbbetson,

this is not a helpline.

I'm not explaining

myself very well.

I'm not in the habit of

speaking to people much.

That's a considerable

stroke of good fortune.

- Talking to people is perilous.

- I'm desperate...

You made the call so

you're running the risk.

It's about the furniture

of my parents' villa.

They... about a year ago.

- You see?

- I understand.

An estate of great...

I've always heard it

referred to as being of...

Extremely valuable.

Very rare pieces,

including paintings.

Unfortunately, I

have no photographs.

So what?

To be honest, I haven't decided

yet, but I would like to have a...

Oh, I'm out of my depth.

What's the word?

- Valuation.

- Exactly.

That is why I asked to

speak to Mr. Oldman.

Does Mr. Oldman have the

pleasure of knowing you?

Oh, no, not at all.

He doesn't know me.

But... but I know

a lot about him.

Mr. Oldman's assistants are

responsible for assessments.

- I'll put you through.

- Perhaps I didn't make myself clear.

I must speak to

Mr. Oldman in person.

Mr. Oldman never presides

over early appraisals.

But you see, before he died,

Dad told me that if I

decided to sell everything,

I should entrust the auction

sale to Mr. Virgil Oldman.

- In his opinion, the best.

- Sold!

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me

great pleasure to present lot 231,

a refracting elongated telescope

constructed by Galileo Galilei.

It's still in perfect

working order.

Can we open bidding,

please, at 1,000,000?

- 1,100,000.

- 1,100,000. 1,200,000.

1,300,000. 1,400,000

on the telephone.

1,500,000 back in the room.


1,700,000. 1,800,000

in the room.

1,900,000. 2,000,000.

At 2,000,000.

Gesundheit. Was that a bid?

At 2,000,000. 2,100,000.

2,300,000 on the telephone.

2,500,000. I can sell it.


At 2,700,000. Any more?

Are we all done?

At 2,700,000.

Sold. Congratulations, Sir.

Lot 232.

Disciple of Boris Gregorian,

Thurst. Oil on canvas, 60 x 70.

This one will go

to the best offer.

1,000. 2,000.

3,000. 4,000. 5,000 online.

6,000. 7,000.

8,000. 9,000 on the telephone.

10,000 back in the room.

11,000 online.

12,000. 13,000 online.

14,000. 15,000.

This is not doing

my neck any good.

At 15,000.

20,000. At 20,000.

Any more? Sold!

- Beautiful, isn't it?

- Yes. Very.

You never miss a trick,

do you, governor?

- Who is it really?

- Yansky.

A Russian painter who

died in the late '30s.

An outstanding

landscape painter.

But among his many landscapes,

he painted three portraits.

Only three in his whole life.

And this is one of the three.

It's double, alright?

How long have we

known each other?

Quite a while.

We've pulled off some sharp

tricks time after time.

Remember Milo Hensen?

You were the only one who

knew he was going to be big.

We got that portrait of

his mother for a song

from under the noses of

that bunch of idiots.

Must be worth a fortune now.

You almost sound bitter

you didn't get more.

Have we ever talked about

money, you and me?

- Honestly, no.

- It's been good enough for you.

It's been good enough

for me, you misery.

What matters is that

you're satisfied.

My only regret is never

being able to persuade you

that my paintings are evidence

of a great artistic talent.

A love of art and knowing

how to hold a brush

doesn't make an artist.

You need an inner mystery. A

knack you've never possessed.

You're right. Double

wasn't enough.

In my 36 years in this business,

never has anyone had the gall

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Giuseppe Tornatore

Giuseppe Tornatore (born 27 May 1956) is an Italian film director and screenwriter. He is considered as one of the directors who brought critical acclaim back to Italian cinema. In a career spanning over 30 years he is best known for directing and writing drama films such as The Legend of 1900, Malèna, Baarìa and The Best Offer. Probably his most noted film is Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, for which Tornatore won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He directed also several advertising campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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