“The Humbling” On Screen

I saw the film version of The Humbling (2014)—Philip Roth’s novel, which I reviewed on this site—on DVD the other day.  Barry Levinson directed the picture imaginatively and Al Pacino is extraordinary as the malfunctioning great actor who gets involved with the strange lesbian (Greta Gerwig), but the undertaking would have been better had the film been a little more faithful to the novel.

Buck Henry and Michael Zebede wrote the script, and I disesteem Henry’s attempts at arch comedy.  For a transsexual character, the ex-lover of Gerwig’s lesbian, to be tossed in is pointless, and the tragic ending is more garish, less believable, than Roth’s ending.  The film could have been a memorable success, but in truth it is too eccentric to even register as something disturbing and important.

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