It’s The Humbling’s bad luck that it comes out after Birdman. Not only do both movies tackle the issue of the aging actor trying to regain celebrity, the first ten minutes of both are eerily similar. Birdman is the better movie, but The Humbling is still entertaining and Pacino great to watch.
Based on a Philip Roth book of the same name, The Humbling is poignant and funny. Pacino’s Simon Axler plays an aging actor who is nearly 70. He no longer can remember his lines so he quits acting and moves back to his barely-lived in home in Connecticut. Here he attempts to kill himself with a gun like Hemingway which leads to a month stay in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility. Much of the movie’s plot is driven by Skyped therapy sessions with his psychiatrist where he discusses the people who keep showing up at his house in Connecticut. They are quirky and easily could have stepped out of a Woody Allen movie.
The biggest problem with The Humbling is its inconsistency. It shifts from being introspective (when the film is at its best) to being farcical. It’s almost as if Barry Levinson, the director, couldn’t decide if he wanted the movie to be a drama or black comedy. But one thing is for certain: Pacino may be 75, but boy can he still act! LAR
Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
In theaters (and available OnDemand for $7.99)