Barry Levinson’s new drama, The Humbling, has a lot of elements going for it. First of all, it has an opening night launch at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, after its premiere in Venice this week, which is hopefully a good sign. Second, it has a controversial 2009 novel from Philip Roth as its source material. Third, it has a terrific ensemble, including Al Pacino, Greta Gerwig, Dianne Wiest, Mandy Patinkin, Kyra Sedgwick and Charles Grodin. Also, classic comedy writer Buck Henry (The Graduate) worked on the screenplay. Now, the first clip from the film has landed online and it is as raw and wrenching as we have come to expect from Roth’s work.
This early clip from The Humbling is bruising and bitter, with Gerwig hard to like as a woman who abandoned her relationship and did not return to her lover’s hospital bed in the aftermath of his surgery. “I wish I could say I felt sorry for you,” she tells him. Even Pacino’s character looks stunned by Pegeen’s distance and disgusted reaction.
The scene, spare but vividly acted, is also an early glimpse of Gerwig as a brunette. Fans of The Office could mistake her as Jenna Fischer, as the resemblance is so strong. Meanwhile, dark, sardonic comedy is a strength of director Barry Levinson – Wag the Dog and What Just Happened are good indicators of the film’s bleak tone – and so he is an inspired choice for the adaptation. Still, with such harrowing subject matter and characters, The Humbling hopes to make a big impression in Venice and Toronto to secure distribution.
Source: The Playlist