Al Pacino is one of the greatest living actors of his era, but in the last few years he’s really been slumming it. And in the case of his collaboration with Adam Sandler, maybe a better term would be “dumbing it”. “The-stuff-that-comes-out-of-your-bumming-it”? He’s been making crap movies, is what I’m saying.
That snarling, scene stealing/chewing Pacino of old hasn’t been seen in ages, and while I don’t think he’s going to be chomping down on the set decorations just quite yet in his latest film, The Humbling, at least this looks like a definite step in the right direction, based on this first trailer.
The film is based on the acclaimed novel by Philip Roth, and with Oscar winner Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietman, Rain Man, The Natural) – whose career is also in need of a pick-me-up – behind the camera and a fantastic supporting cast around him, this seems to be just the type of material that Pacino needs to get back in the swing of things.
To devote one’s life to acting is to live always in the space between reality and fiction. And as the life of Simon Axler (Al Pacino) reaches its denouement, that space gets hazier with each passing day. Once a universally acclaimed thespian, the now-sexagenarian Simon has fallen from grace — literally. After swan-diving into the orchestra pit in the middle of a performance, he slides into an intense depression, and quite possibly dementia, leading to a spell in a psychiatric facility. Upon his release he agrees to continue therapy and swears that he is giving up acting. But Simon is always acting, always rating his “performance” in the theatre of everyday life. It’s only when he finds himself in an unlikely affair with the much younger Pegeen (Greta Gerwig), the daughter of some old friends — and until now a lesbian — that Simon seems to be back in the moment. Or is he? If all the world’s a stage, then Simon seems to be losing his grip on who’s playing which role.
The Humbling also stars Mandy Patinkin, Kyra Sedgwick, Charles Grodin, Dianne Wiest, Greta Gerwig and Louise Trenner. It doesn’t have a release date yet, but will be making its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival soon.
Last Updated: September 5, 2014