A gifted artist wages a personal war against his demons as well as a world that refuses to accept his creative vision in this biographical drama based on the true story of Amedeo Modigliani. Modigliani (Andy Garcia) was an Italian Jew who was living in Paris in the 1910s, when the city's bohemian community was in full flower. While Modigliani was a uniquely gifted painter and sculptor, his friend and rival Pablo Picasso (Omid Djalili) had already found fame and fortune; Modigliani's work had yet to reach a significant audience beyond the city's creative inner circle. Though Modigliani stubbornly refused to compromise his vision for the sake of sales, he was alternately troubled and enraged by the lack of acceptance for his art, and was known to buffer his bruised ego with alcohol and opium, which made his often unpredictable and sometimes violent behavior all the more volatile. Modigliani also had a mistress, Jeanne Hebuterne (Elsa Zylberstein), who had been disowned by her wealthy family for falling in love with a Jew and having his child out of wedlock. When Hebuterne discovered she was pregnant again, Modigliani faced pressure to marry her, and had to face the practical question of how to support his offspring. Modigliani's fate rested upon winning an annual art competition in Paris, which would have given him a needed influx of cash, leaving him understandably enraged when Picasso also chose to enter a work in the contest.
~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide