Célèbre theater actor, Simon Axler is sinking into depression to the point of becoming suicidal when he loses suddenly and inexplicably his gift. To try to recover the sacred fire, he starts an affair with a lesbian, two times younger than him. But very quickly, their relationship to sow chaos, while old acquaintances of the couple to reappear in their lives…
At the moment in which one discovers THE HUMBLING, Barry Levinson, and his willingness to put forward a vision of the actor, the ghost of Birdman seems to be close. Some scenes that take place in a theatre look like, moreover, in a manner almost identical to the film ofAlejandro González Iñárritu. Difficult to know which of the two filmmakers has imagined its sequences the first. However, THE HUMBLING quickly finds his own personality and turns away from the spectacular side of Birdman to delve so intimate in the heart of his main character. Only if this last, in spite of a scenario quickly boring, could be entertained by his staging is masterly, THE HUMBLING, an adaptation of the novel of the american writer Philip Roth, bored as much by his realization at the slow pace that by its history reducing.
Just like Birdman, it seems clear that Levinson was not much to tell in THE HUMBLING. Has the image of the character, Simon Axler (Al Pacino), who, almost ironically, repeats to the few people present to listen to him that he has nothing to say or do. A great actor in a deep depression, he is unable to live outside of his trade, but could not continue it without having anxiety attacks. A character in crisis who, after a suicide attempt is a ridiculously unsuccessful will rest in a psychiatric hospital before finding refuge as a hermit in his country house. Between its moments of insomnia and use of sleeping pills powerful it hovers around him in a kind of fog that confused the reality and dream. We then think that the arrival of Peggen (Greta Gerwig) will give a little spice to this life platform. He will do nothing. The film is content to show the relationship limit unhealthy between an old actor and a young woman who admires him since his childhood. Yet lesbian, Peggen making a clean sweep of his sexuality at its meeting of Axler. The latter did not challenge to make heterosexual, but rather to make a woman, it is all the complexity of their relationship which will see them reduced. Follows a lack of originality in the problems of the couple. A violent reaction and negative parents of Pegeen, a start of sexual impotence for Axler and the couple that do is maintained only by the gifts offered by the latter to the young woman. A relationship badly treated, which encloses the characters in cartoons, Axler even more pathetic and Pegeen immature and tiring.
”With characters as simplistic, even a monster actor like Al Pacino can’t do much.”
Despite some comic scenes, of situations based on the irony of the dialogues and the tone that offers Al Pacino, you don’t know what THE HUMBLING wants to tell us. In addition, with characters as simplistic, even a monster actor like Al Pacino can’t do much. The latter, although correct in its interpretation, is limited to walking slowly, the look in the empty and the low voice. And necessarily with a character dozing without judgment you will soon fall asleep in his lap. The same goes for the talented Greta Gerwig , who comes and goes without ever finding its place in the film. A real disappointment as the duo looked promising and surprising.
The other outputs of the 8 April 2015
WHY I HAVE NOT EATEN MY FATHER, THE HUMBLING, the LOST RIVER, NEVER LIFE, BELL, CAKE, DESECRATION (and Mercy), ASTRAGALUS, DARK PLACES, HISTORY OF JUDAS, etc
• Achievement : Barry Levinson
• Screenplay : Buck Henry, Michal Zebede, based on the work of Philip Roth
• Main actors : Al Pacino, Greta Gerwig, Dan Hedaya
• Country of origin : Italy, U. S. A.
• Released : April 8, 2015
• Duration : 1h52min
• Distributor : Metropolitan FilmExport
• Synopsis : Simon Axler was once one of the greatest actors of his generation, but today, it is finished. Sixty years ago, he has lost his talent, his aura, and any self-esteem. Of her greatest roles, it remains only the wind. When he goes on stage, he no longer believes in. Soaring, its legendary faculty to enter the skin of another… losing his talent, he also loses his audience, and then his wife. Axler dives into depression and thinking of suicide… But his meeting with Pegeen, a young lesbian woman half his age, is going to change everything. It may be his chance to revive his life force, desire, and trust in him…