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The Humbling
La sombra del actor (2014)
  • Director:
    Barry Levinson
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Buck Henry,Michal Zebede
  • Cast:
    Al Pacino,Greta Gerwig,Nina Arianda
  • Time:
    1h 52min
  • Budget:
  • Year:
An aged and addled actor has his world turned upside down after he embarks upon an affair with a lesbian, in this acidulous adaptation of the Philip Roth novel.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Pacino Al Pacino - Simon Axler
Greta Gerwig Greta Gerwig - Pegeen Mike Stapleford
Nina Arianda Nina Arianda - Sybil
Charles Grodin Charles Grodin - Jerry
Mary Louise Wilson Mary Louise Wilson - Mrs. Rutledge
Dan Hedaya Dan Hedaya - Asa
Dianne Wiest Dianne Wiest - Carol
Billy Porter Billy Porter - Prince
Li Jun Li Li Jun Li - Tracy
Lance Roberts Lance Roberts - Walter
Kyra Sedgwick Kyra Sedgwick - Louise Trenner
Victor Cruz Victor Cruz - Security Guard
Derrick Arthur Derrick Arthur - Techie
Steve Rosen Steve Rosen - Stage Manager
Andrea Barnes Andrea Barnes - Nurse

La sombra del actor (2014)

Shot on and off over 20 non-consecutive days.

It was Al Pacino's idea to make the book into a movie, to the point of convincing Barry Levinson to direct it and approaching together Buck Henry to adapt it.

When Simon reads an article about himself in the newspaper, another appears below it with the title "Jacob Minoux, Jazz Legend, Dead At 54". This is fictional.

The restaurant where Simon and Pegeen have lunch was also used in Kohtunik (2014). Both films even feature the same table by the window.

The film is based on the 2009 novel The Humbling by Philip Roth.

The Humbling was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Barry Levinson decided to make the movie as a dark comedy, noting, "If you want to talk about an older actor in decline, just to do it as some straight drama didn't seem that intriguing to me" also citing that comedy "seemed to me inherent in the piece".

Although both Al Pacino and Barry Levinson have denied that the character of Simon is autobiographical to Pacino's life, Pacino noted that he related to the material, stating that "it's in, as they say, my wheelhouse."

According to the newspaper article Simon reads about himself (titled "Shakespeare's Spiderman Returns to Broadway in King Lear"), he acted in an Elizabethan drama series by the name of "Red Moon Rising" opposite Marcia Gay Harden.

The Humbling is a 2014 comedy-drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Buck Henry and Michal Zebede.

The film was screened in the Out of Competition section of the 71st Venice International Film Festival.

This film was released on January 23, 2015, by Millennium Films.

Although the film in the beginning had ample funding, the listed conditions got too much for Barry Levinson, who backed out and lost by his estimate "somewhere in the area of $6 million." Subsequently it was decided to shoot the film incrementally with several breaks built in to accommodate Al Pacino's schedule.

Al Pacino & Barry Levinson also worked together on You Don't Know Jack (2010) & Paterno (2018).

On February 4, 2014, it was announced that Millennium Films had acquired the worldwide rights to the film.

Sermak Light
Sermak Light
Let me say immediately that I loved it or to be more precise, I loved him in it and by him I mean Al Pacino. An act of generosity a profoundly moving performance. I connected immediately with his disconnection. Al Pacino, through his character, is telling us something personal, something important. Yes, it became personal to me, important to me. How rewarding to be able to say that, to feel that about the work of one of the giants of the XXth Century and counting. Thank you Mr Pacino, thank you very much.
There's a film about an aging actor who is having doubts about himself and his craft. He's thought of suicide and dreads having a flop on the Broadway stage. So, to help cope, the guy retreats into fantasy--and the audience often finds that they have a hard time separating out what's real and what is not throughout the picture. This is the synopsis for the multi-award nominated Birdman and, oddly, also for a brand new movie from director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Sleepers, Wag the Dog) which stars Al Pacino! Had I not just seen both of these films recently, I wouldn't have believed two films would be so similar and come out independently of each other only a few months apart...but here we have it.

When the film begins, Simon Axler (Pacino) is falling apart during a performance of a play. He's forgotten his lines--mixing them up with another play he was in some time ago. In a panic, he throws himself off the stage. Soon, after attempting suicide, he ends up in a mental institution. After a brief stay, he's back home--home to an empty house and with few job prospects. Out of the blue, a woman from his past shows up and she wants him. The minor problem is that she's a lesbian...as well as his goddaughter. Sounds complicated? Sure...but it gets worse...much worse. Along with frequent retreats into his fantasy world, a suddenly super-problematic personal life as well as paralyzing stage fright comes one final chance to star in yet another Broadway play. What's to come of all this comeback...will it be a bust?

The biggest positive this film has over Birdman is its sense of humor. Birdman is awfully serious. The Humbling is serious but the film also pokes gentle fun at Pacino's character and his age--plus there are quite a few parallels to the real life Pacino. I particularly loved the scene at the vet...but that's just one you'll have to see for yourself. Is it better than Birdman? No. But if you liked one, you'll probably like the other...they are both well- crafted and offer some terrific acting.
Barry Levinson's The Humbling starts with the Seven Ages of Man speech in As You Like It and ends on King Lear. That is, it begins with the comic context of all the various roles we play in our lives on earth, then closes on our tragic end.

Simon Axler (Al Pacino) is an actor who lives through the doubts, uncertainties and increasing debility that characterize us all. In the opening scene he appears on opposite sides of the screen, debating himself on the effectiveness of his delivery. When he's wheeled into the hospital he has the same uncertainty, trying different versions of his pained moan. He theatricalizes everything.

All his life experiences are filtered through film and drama. When he sprains his back his girlfriend Pegeen (Greta Gerwig) calls him Richard III (a familiar Pacino film role) but he calls himself Igor (Dr Frankenstein's assistant). The switch summarizes his increasing servility to Pegeen, who shifts from adulating girl fan to increasingly monstrous betrayer (leaving him on his opening night of King Lear). Simon can't even call the lost Pegeen back, pleadingly, without slipping into an allusion to Brandon DeWilde's Joey at the end of Shane. His roles in life blend indistinguishably into the roles of his drama. Lately he has even been slipping from the lines of one play into another, unsettling his colleagues. But then, all the world's a stage and we are all but players, remember?

Whole scenes are exposed to have been fantasy. He imagines talking to Pegeen at the fertility clinic. He imagines Pegeen's bringing back a beautiful pickup for a threesome, that doesn't materialize. His imagining of Pegeen's mother (Dianne Wiest) telling him he's the girl's father prompts his killing himself at the end of Lear. Where the character dies of a broken heart the actor with a shattered memory and a mercurial sense of self commits a kind of hara kiri. He who lives by the shifting variety of assumed roles dies by one too. When the vet gives Simon a horse painkiller his brief reduction to stupor anticipates the dementia from which his personalized Lear climax saves him. Never has the valedictory spoken to Lear so movingly applied to the actor.

The film's ostensible focus on theatre and acting opens into the broader sense of human identity and the individual's spectrum of self-presentation. Pegeen runs her own range of roles: childhood fan, college prof, an administrator's lesbian lover, a trans- sexual's ex-lover, her disappointed parents' daughter. Even as Simon's lover she moves through adulator, mistress, caretaker, exploiter and finally abandons him at his greatest moment of need. Pegeen rejects Prince because in his sex-change he spoiled the beautiful body he had as Priscilla. Talk about role-changes.... Simon hears Pegeen reject Prince because she doesn't have sex with men! He's emasculated by their affair.

Indeed Simon finds his habitual solitude overrun with lunatics: the mental patient who hounds him to kill her husband, Pegeen's ex who stalks Simon and who implicates him as accomplice, the trans-sexual who tries to make a role for himself in Pegeen's new life. As all the world's a stage Simon's life teems with colourful supporting players, as extreme as the comedia del arte types. His lavish house — in which he only occupies the ground level and even there seems not to have unpacked yet after 14 years — is like a stage set, in fact, the stage set of his Lear, played in modern dress against a spare white abstract set.

As the film is based on a Phillip Roth novel it's a familiar examination of a famous male persona and his inner conflicts, especially in the sexually Absurd world. Here the kinky is normal, as when the mature housekeeper runs through the care of Pegeen's sex tools, orderly arranged in a laundry hamper. And the normal — trying to get through life by playing all the roles we need to — is mad.

Of course, with a heroic leap of the imagination this 72-year-old critic can relate to the 65-year-old hero's increasing confusion and diminishing capabilities. In the scenes where his injuries — and painkillers — reduce him to a blithering crippled idiot he anticipates the climax of his first performance: "sans everything." Having lost his craft, having lost his audience, Simon as Jaques tries to leap out of his role. He jumps off the stage, injuring himself but oddly creating a public appetite for watching him do a Spider Man Shakespeare again. In his fatal Lear he not only recovers his craft and his audience but manages to trump his earlier surprise. That would be anyone's, not just an actor's, triumphant exit.
What a shocker...Al Pacino INTENTIONALLY funny! Let's face it, when was the last time anyone couldn't wait to see him on the big screen, or anxiously await the next movie directed by Barry Levinson or written by Buck Henry? When the movie started, all actor-y and reeking in pretension, I started to regret my decision to shower and brave the crap weather to see it. Then, enter Greta Gerwig, the lesbian daughter of his friends who has wanted to seduce him since she was 8 and he was 40 and succeeds. Or does she, because Pacino's Skype conversations with his analyst mixes reality with imagination. Enter a psycho who is trying to get Pacino to shoot her husband, a black transgender male who used to be Gerwig's lesbian lover and Dianne Wiest as Gerwig's mother (hysterical performance) among others, that prolonged laughter in the theatre drowned out many funny lines unheard. My one quibble with this movie is that Buck Henry has lost his ear for writing dialogue for younger characters but this movie was a fabulous surprise. Highly recommended.
Honestly, I had no expectations from this movie what-so-ever. Al Pacino has been disappointing his cinema audience for such a long time that despite a few Luke warm positive reviews I'd heard of 'The Humbling', I still thought I'd just pass it this time. But it was only because of Barry Levinson (Director: Rain Man) that I eventually thought of giving the film a try. AND 'wow', I can honestly say after watching this film that it is Al Pacino who eventually saves it, and Levinson who every now and then allows it to slip.

I felt that in the first 50 minutes the film really moves on and gets a grip on the viewer - however the next 30 minutes are too shallow with Peegen's ex-lovers and Sybil, the psychiatric patient, popping up every now and then and to the extent that it gets irritating and the film almost becomes stagnant. I think Levinson should have edited at least 10 minutes from this segment.

In the last 20 minutes or so, thank God, the story moves on, and as it progresses towards the end, Pacino truly shines. He does actually deliver a brave performance throughout the film. Greta Gerwig also does quite well. It is an actors film no doubt.

In the end once again I felt that Levinson dropped this film a couple of times but Al Pacino saved it. I am also happy that Al Pacino was not predictable this time. For any Al Pacino fan I'd say go ahead and watch the film: it will surprise you!!!
Al Pacino's Simon Axler says that the hardest point for any great actor is when you can tell the talent is starting to recede. I'd say the hardest for any movie critic is having to watch a great actor do a movie like "88 Minutes." Thankfully HBO has been saving Pacino's cred over the past decade, which sadly still takes another wallop with another lousy theatrical film, this an adaptation of Philip Roth's novel scripted by "The Graduate" screenwriter and renowned comedy writer Buck Henry. The fact that Henry is even still alive comes as one of the few pieces of good news in director Barry Levinson's very sloppy, very irritating, and altogether labored look at something "Birdman" managed to do so easily.

Axler is first seen looking into a mirror, chastising himself for not sounding believable enough before the curtain call for his role in "As You Like It". He winds up having a nervous breakdown (Pacino never once looks like he's not in serious bender mode); exhausted and convinced his view of reality is falling apart, he keeps a shotgun in the house because he wants to be like Ernest Hemingway if that tells you anything. But before he can off himself, Pegeen (Greta Gerwig), the lesbian daughter of one of Simon's old actor friends, shows up at his door, wanting desperately to play out a long-standing crush she's always had. It's creepy and makes no sense, but nobody in this movie seems based in reality.

Least of which the constantly self-absorbed Simon, who has some confusing, depersonalized disorder, falling in line with being this "creepy old man" out of obligation to giving an audience (who i'm assuming is Pegeen) what it wants. Yet he seems to not be rehearsing when talking with a psychiatrist (Dylan Baker) and when another mental patient (Nina Arianda) wants him to help her kill her cheating husband (because she saw him do it in a movie once) he is very unwilling to "go along with the script." "Humbling's" look at mental illness is flimsy at best, but mostly just seems like bullshit altogether.

It also doesn't make much sense to keep adding all these unnecessary, secondary characters. The contrived and impulsive Pegeen. Her harassing, crazy ex-girlfriend (Kyra Sedgewick). Her other crazy ex-girlfriend turned transsexual man (Billy Porter), who now finds it interesting she likes men and won't leave until getting his shot too. And the Nina Arianda character. At times it's like this thing just exists to jam in as many delusional people as possible, it's hard to even remember that when we started, this movie was about achieving emotional honesty. By the time we get to the ending, honesty from any of these people just seems like an afterthought.
One of the Problems with Al Pacino Films in Recent Years is His Aging. He Looks Old and one is constantly Reminded as He Performs in various Roles of late, just how Old He is Getting and just How Old He Looks.

That is Definitely Not a Problem in this one. A Dark Comedy from Director Barry Levinson with a Script by Buck Henry from a Book by Philip Roth.

Because, You See, the Character Pacino Plays IS an Old Actor that IS Losing His Grip on His Craft and His Looks are Not Receding, their Lost. It's an Uncanny and Personal Role for Pacino.

It's an Odd Movie and Off Beat with an Awkward Rhythm that Comes Together occasionally and then just as quickly Quirks Up and falls Out of Step. That Keeps Things Interesting and the Cast of one Goofy Character after another Helps Things Stay Frosty.

Greta Gerwig Co-Stars with Pacino as a Scatterbrained Lesbian that has had a Life Long Crush on the Actor and She Helps the Strange Story along with a lot of Unpredictable Behavior. Overall, Worth a Watch for something Different and to See Pacino Finally Playing His Age.

An Arty Film for Lovers of Stage and Screen with enough Gravitas to Entertain Thanks to some Good Performers and some Sharp Writing.
"I will never go on stage again." Simon (Pacino) is an aging stage actor who has a breakdown on stage. After a stint in rehab he moves out on his own again and is surprised when Pegeen (Gerwig), the daughter of someone he used to know shows up at his door. The two begin a friendship that changes into much more…or does it? Al Pacino has been my favorite actor for a long time now and anything he is in I am excited about watching. This is a type of character that he rarely plays, the only other time I've seen him play someone like this is in People I Know. That said, this movie shows why Pacino is such a force. The entire movie keeps you guessing what is real and what is imagined. He does a great job of really making you feel the way he wants you to. Whether he is sleep deprived in Insomnia or slowly losing his mind in this one you can't help but go through the struggle with him. This is a good movie but it is a little slow in some parts. Much like the recent Birdman, you watch an actor struggle with his inner demons, and while it's not a happy thing to watch you can't look away. Overall, Pacino once again proves why he is such a powerful actor. If you liked Birdman then watch this one. I give it a B.
This film can be quite funny but also quite weird, as it had a certain appeal to me and I ended up liking it. Not everything works here, and I would venture to say it's not for everyone, but I felt the parts of the movie that do work, work well and make it worthwhile.

Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig are exceptional here, in the lead roles, and play off each other quite well. Pacino portrays Simon, an aging actor who sees his mental capabilities diminishing before his eyes, thus markedly affecting his ability to perform. Following an intentional leap from a stage into an empty orchestra pit, landing face first, followed by a botched suicide attempt, He ends up in a rest and rehab home for 30 days, before being released into the outpatient care of his therapist (Dylan Baker), whom he has sessions with on Skype.

Gerwig plays Pegeen, who shows up at Simon's front door, one day, and is the daughter of former friends and co-performers of his, many years before. She tells Simon, whom she hasn't seen in many years, that as a child she used to have an enormous crush on him when he would visit their home. Despite declaring she's an avowed lesbian, she begins to boldly seduce Simon and they soon begin a May-December relationship.

All kinds of quirky characters will come and go throughout the film, such as Sybil (Nina Arianda) who met Simon in rehab and now is stalking him to kill her vile husband. Also, Prince (Billy Porter), who used to be Priscilla and in a relationship with Pegeen before the operation. It's fun to see some veteran screen notables make varying screen time appearances, including Charles Grodin, Dianne Wiest, Dan Hedaya, Kyra Sedgwick, and Mary Louis Wilson.

It's nice to see the acclaimed filmmaker Barry Levinson (Rain Man, The Natural) back with a movie on screen, with a screenplay from the great Buck Henry (The Graduate), and Mechal Zebede.

All in all, this film offers something different but, as mentioned it will not appeal to everyone. With the performances of Pacino and Gerwig, as well as solid support, plus some quirky humor, I felt there was enough here for me to enjoy.
An actor (Pacino) suffers a mid-life crisis at the end of his acting career. He loses hope and any passion to act, opting for a foolish attempt at suicide on the theater stage. Now retired and in therapy, a young girl from his past visits him at home and his passion reignites. And don't forget to add a friend from rehab who wants him to kill her husband (the only mildly interesting thing which of course goes nowhere).

The movie is ultimately a failure to be a drama or a comedy. The passion fizzles out very quickly and turns into a ridiculous farce. Pacino spends a good portion of every scene talking to his shrink over the computer or on the phone. Instead of the viewer experiencing the movie first hand, Pacino spends seemingly every scene narrating how he feels. Instead of feeling the actors emotions, seeing the characters develop, I felt spoon fed from scene to scene during ridiculous talks on the phone.

Long stretches of boring dialogue, sleepy music, characters devoid of any passion or pathos, long story short (my only wish while watching), this movie stinks. Pacino stumbles around the room uttering idiotic dialogue, falls down constantly while moaning, and goes through ridiculous situations with the lesbian. OH yeah, the girl's a lesbian. How risqué! Devoid of anything funny or remotely interesting, I urge you to avoid this movie. The story reminded me a little about Birdman. Actor in crisis on the stage, feelings of suicide, young spitfire girl, etc. Although I hate to compare two movies instead of judging them solely on their own merit, I'd watch Birdman instead. Way better movie.
Al Pacino leads Barry Levinson's 'The Humbling', which despite some arresting moments, is an Uneven Comedy. Its a slow-paced tale of an artist losing his mind, but Pacino never makes him melodramatic or nagging.

'The Humbling' Synopsis: A stage actor who is slowly losing his mind engages in a relationship with a sexually confused younger woman.

'The Humbling' is a terrific idea, which doesn't translate into a terrific film. Reason? The Erratic Screenplay, which appeals in bits & pieces. Buck Henry & Michal Zebede's Screenplay, which is based on a book by the same name, is situationally funny, but overall, its erratic. There are moments when you feel for the protagonist, but at times, you just disconnect. Better Writing was the need of the day!

Levinson's Direction, however, is as complex as ever. Cinematography is aptly mounted, while the Editing lacks sharpness.

Coming to performances, Pacino is the life of 'The Humbling'. As an artist losing all he's got, the legend gives us a character that remains with you even after the show concludes. He's excellent. Greta Gerwig & Dianne Wiest deserve a special mention, for their brilliant performances, as well.

On the whole, 'The Humbling' will mostly appeal to Pacino fans.
I just saw this new release off Netflix starring the duo of star Al Pacino and director Barry Levinson- who's last collaboration was the brilliant HBO film "You Don't Know Jack"; but this movie just falls flat. Pacino plays an aging actor who goes into a relationship with a sexually confused much MUCH younger (LOL) woman- what, isn't he about old enough to be her GREAT grandfather-?? LMAO Well, besides a few amusing moments here and there, the movie was really just a schnooze fest. I liked the stuff about the whole method of acting with Pacino's character's career and all, but am on the fence whether I'd recommend this or not. I'd say- if you're a Pacino fan and have Netflix already- go ahead and check it out, otherwise go watch "You Don't Know Jack" instead... Dianne Wiest (think that was her??) and Charles Grodin (who I just saw on an episode of "Louie" recently) costar.
Why is Hollywood at the moment so concerned with movies of disillusioned ageing actors with plots that are supposed to be intelligent and witty but end up in farce. I don't care how reputable the actors, directors and writers are or how we are supposed to be impressed by stories examining the "Human Condition"... bottom line, just like the vastly over-hyped Birdman, this is a vapid and pointless movie not worthy of the people involved and certainly not worth my time watching. I turned it off after an hour as although I thought it was refreshing to see Al Pacino in something other than his usual dramatic roles, I didn't find any humour in it at all and if anything felt it slightly embarrassed for him in such a poor choice of role.
When I saw the cast in this movie (as well as the rating) I thought it was a must watch. It starts bad, gets worse, and ends horribly. I don't review a movie unless it blows me away for the good or the bad. This one was not for the good.

Its slow, all over the map, and some of the characters are weak and pointless. There were good portions of this movie that I didn't even know what was going on.

I'm annoyed I gave up 2 hours of my life for this, and can't believe the cast and crew put that much of their time into it. My condolences to them.

My advice is to stay well clear of this one.
On form, this look like a very good movie, with stars Al Pacino & Greta Gerwig (with Diane Wiest and Charles Grodin in small roles); Barry Levinson directing; and Buck Henry scripting. However, despite having all the technical issues well covered and being a better movie than the current Oscar nominee BIRDMAN, with which it shares a lot of plot point, it turns into an exercise in embarrassment. There are plenty of funny bits, but they all turn on humiliation.

Given the title of the movie, this should come as no surprise. However, watching an actor do Shakespeare's KING LEAR as a comedy -- which is the subtext of this movie -- Pacino's turn as an aging actor who has lost his ability to act turns into simply a mean-spirited piece, mocking the weak and confused. Not to mention the problems with the version of LEAR that he finally agrees to perform, hectored by all and with an audience waiting for him to fall off stage.

BIRDMAN was an exercise in tragedy. This tries to work in comedy and the powerlessness of Pacino's character makes it obnoxious. Comedy should aim up. It should be the weak's weapon against the strong. Everyone performs very well, but the laughs in the theater were properly ragged and always accompanied by a wince.
The downfall of greatness, in this case an actor, is of course a fascinating subject, but this movie is not interesting. The screenplay relies on oddball characters, dream/delusion sequences, and of course that device so beloved in Hollywood, conversations with a therapist. Stuff happens, the scenes go on and on, but it's all so banal! To be fair all this crap is not terribly boring, though that's mostly due to the always watchable Pacino, the rest of the cast contributes nothing of value. Pacino is certainly pathetic as the doddering old actor, and indeed this movie is such a travesty that it's like watching the death of his real career on screen, but elder abuse is a crime not entertainment.
This film speaks to the genius of Al Pacino. Where an ordinary actor, or in his case film icon, would dictate his life story to a writer or simply write a book, in staying true to his magnitude as an actor and being the true artist that he is, he decides to sum up parts of his life, make into a film with extreme highs and lows obviously. Yes, it is an adaptation of a novel, but adapted into a script that Pacino can speak through and put his stamp on. Am I talking out of thin air? No! I was fortunate enough to see a screening of it where Al Pacino spoke afterwards, and he himself said it was somewhat autobiographical, and that's the way I felt when I was watching the film, and that it took about a year to write the script, or adapt it into the film, so it was wonderful to hear him confirm that "autobiographical part". I think he may continue to make films like this for a while, that he can speak about his own life through, his true fans will appreciate it, and it will be a part of his legacy as an actor. Good for him!

It's brilliantly funny, and it's for the intellectual palate, it's not your typical Hollywood comedy with silly fart jokes, this is humor with sophistication, humor that actually titillates your brain. It's also low budget, don't expect explosions and cgi, this is an actor's film. For people who love good acting and an intricate story. His acting in it is superb, this is my personal favorite performance of his. You get a window into his intellect, his personal thoughts on acting all through this character. At the end you come out knowing this man is only interested in one thing, the truth in his work, and being truthful in it. When the film opened, I said to myself "oh, this is similar to Birman," (which I thought was just okay) but as it progressed, I realized there was no comparisons and all of the accolades that film got, The Humbling deserved and I personally loved it. They're similar except this is a million times better, you actually get what it's about and it's not abstract for the sake of being abstract with fancy camera tricks to distract you from a fragmented story. Yes there are so many partisan reviews promoting self-interest and bashing good films that deserve a chance. I urge everyone who loves Pacino or has loved any film he's been in prior to see this film.
Fiction and reality are sometimes very near each other. So close that you might not be able to tell them apart. Add to that mix a life in theater and a wild imagination ... well you kind of got what this movie is about. The beginning makes it obvious, that Al Pacinos character has some issues staying focused to say the least.

He also has some other issues (some in bed, some artistic and some with his sanity). And that's almost just scratching the surface. The movie wants a lot and is interesting enough (especially with Pacino being "game" if you'll excuse the pun). We also get a muse, that shouldn't be involved with him (age wise, sexual orientation wise and much more) ... but they kind of pull it off. So while this is as strange as it gets, it might be able to float your boat
I love this movie. Al Pacino has not been this good since Heat. Genius movie. Really funny moments and vintage Pacino. Everyone is great in this movie. Greta Gerwig is a relevation and fast becoming one of my favorite actresses. Great great movie. I prefer this over Birdman which is a similar movie they say.
Oy what a mess. I rented this because the little bit of info presented by Netflix sounded interesting and with Al Pacino I figured who can go wrong. As I understand other reviews, hes had some bombs recently, but I figured this cant stink because I'M watching it. Boy was I wrong. The whole thing is a big fat bore from the man who brought me Michael Corleone or Dog Day Afternoon. Al whats happened to thee? I also figured with Barry Levinson involved.it would be at least good. It has a good cast in the lesbian girl, Weist, Hedaya,Grodin accompanying Al. Nothing saves it, its pretentious windbag of a story, we have seen before. Its so deep and seminal, its NOT.
First please read maurice yacowar comments/review of this movie found here with the other comments & reviews. That is a wonderful insight to this complex character Simon Axler and this movie.

I'm a fan of Greta Gerwig and her performance of Pegeen Mike Stapleford in this movie is almost as complex as the Simon Axler character. The story and characters seem to drift from reality into make believe into the psychotic and then suddenly back to reality. Where does the real and the imagined start and finish? It's all theatre.

This isn't a movie for the soap opera crowd but instead it's for people who want to be absorbed into each character and this cast is just perfect in doing that.

Why only 9 stars? I don't know!
I did not like how this movie was treated, without a coherent script where there were characters who had no senses, but the background of the film was good, with heavy actors like Al Pacino and Greta, I am a close fan of her but in this movie, I think it lacked more presentation where I could show more of its rudeness. It's ironic but seeing the character of Al Pacino left me confused and thought it was a documentary by Al Pacino himself
Unfortunately, because of my devotion to watching Al Pacino's movies, I now have two films in my gray matter I wish I could remove: Donnie Brasco and The Humbling. I also sat through Heat, which was too graphically violent for my taste, but I read a book at the same time to save myself scarring visuals.

In this indie flick, Al Pacino is an actor losing his grip on life. His acting career is on the decline, and his memory isn't what it used to be. While that in itself is incredibly sad to watch, the movie gets worse. After his failed suicide attempt, Greta Gerwig comes into the picture, and even though she's his ex-girlfriend's daughter and a lesbian, they start dating. Greta's character is so flawed, so "confused", and so irritating, I feel sorry for Phillip Roth, her creator in the original novel. He must have had the worst ex-girlfriend in the world and needed to cathartically writer her into one of his books, or he has a sick imagination and should be pitied.

Some movies are upsetting and the good acting makes that audience forgive what they've just sat through. I'm sure there are lots of indie lovers who will enjoy this depressing film because of the effective performances, but I'm not one of them. The ending of this movie is so horrible and so disturbing, I'm unable to say, "Well, Al Pacino did a good job, so everything's fine!" I wish I'd never seen it, and I wish I'd never seen him in the film's final scene.

Kiddy Warning: Obviously, you have control over your own children. However, due to upsetting scenes, I wouldn't let my kids watch it.
Simon Axler (Al Pacino) is an aged actor who has difficulty separating reality from his acting which appears to be senility, although he is institutionalized for the condition. Here he meets Louise (Kyra Sedgwick) a woman who claims her husband has molested her daughter and wants Simon to kill her husband for her. He played a killer in a film. Simon refuses, but Louise stalks him anyway. We the audience never know if the husband actually molested the child or if Louise has issues imaging the event.

While at home recovering, Simon is visited by neighbor and fan, a girl who has had a crush on Simon since age 8. Pegeen (Greta Gerwig) is also a lesbian (VW bug dead give-away) and throws herself at Simon and introduces us to some more odd characters.

The film has a number of long boring soliloquies by Simon. It takes a while to build things up in a plot that doesn't move much. Through many of the scenes, I got a feeling of Deja vu, thinking I had seen this in another movie before. I don't know if that was by design and shows us the genius of Buck Henry, or simply shows a lack of creativity. I felt I was watching a film desperately trying to be clever at the expense of the entertainment value. It was difficult to sit through.

Guide: F-bomb. sex- sort of. No nudity.
lets go baby
lets go baby
When the mind starts to play tricks with us, consequence of the aging process, presenting new difficulties in our ordinary and daily tasks it is very hard to understand and specially to accept.

An aging actor begins to have memory lapses which become a serious problem, first present to us when he passes out on stage.

With our senses altering we begin to cling to all things that make us feel good, replacing the bad feeling of possibly failure, like, in this movie, a young women, lesbian (or not) or bisexual (or not) with dubious motivations.

Al Pacino plays the aging actor in a brilliant performance, supported by great actors.

It's a movie off the beaten path, but altogether similar to Birdman, worthwhile watching due to the emotions it portrays, and the truthfulness the characters are immerse by the actors.

The attempt to show others, as well as ourselves, that we can still do the some things, the we still got it can sometimes be tragic.

This is a great movie ad it is always good to see Al Pacino.