The Humbling

Director: Barry Levinson
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 1.5

An aging actor (Al Pacino) battling some mental health issues throws himself off the stage one night and takes a leave of absence from performing - while 'in recovery,' he has an encounter with a "lesbian" (Greta Gerwig) who has supposedly led former lovers to ruins. Philip Roth, as of 2015, has never translated well to the screen - his genius, like many great writers, is properly conveyed on the page - and not even the team of Buck Henry, Levinson and Pacino can save this from being anything other than a trite May-December romance; I suspect Gerwig's character is intended to be more sinister than she comes across (Gerwig is too upbeat and radiant to be intentionally cruel). The third act is where it really, really falls apart: Pacino is set loose (never a good thing) and the shifting between 'reality' and 'delusion' tests one's tolerance for narrative trickery.