Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fading Gigolo

Woddy Allen and John Tuturro in a scene from "Fading Gigolo"
When I like a movie, I can easily watch it several times in that week that I first watched it. "Fading Gigolo" is one of those. I watched it three times: twice alone, and once with another. And I recommended it to my sister, who loved it.

Typically, in order for it to go into a quick repeat, one scene resonates and shows a subtlety that is captivating for me. In this movie, one that has Woody Allen's character pimping John Tuturro's character out to make some cash, it is when Woody has connected him to a woman whose husband, a respected rabbi, has died leaving her with six children and having never been touched. The woman is played beautifully by Vanessa Paradis. She can be so plain yet so beautiful at the same time. The idea for their connection is not for Turturro to have sex with her, but to only touch her. Woody sees her loneliness and the isolation that her husband's death has brought to her. She may as well be in the ground in a box. The death shuns her from life. And when Turturro gently places his hand on her back, it breaks her heart open so that she can live again.

This is not a Woody Allen movie. But his stamp is all over his student's work. Either you love him, or you don't. I am a fan. That he acts in this movie is a treat because he isn't in his yearly efforts as much anymore. He is like a pair of snuggly, old slippers that are odd to imagine, but heavenly to wear. He's comfortable in his neurosis, wit, and ageless appeal.

In this movie, without explanation, he lives with a movie and her four children. The scene where he's playing baseball with them are priceless. Woody is clearly a fan of the game. And the exuberance by which he instructs the kids demonstrates that this man finds youth in work. He writes and directs a movie a year. The idea of it is surreal. You'd think that he would be tired, sit down, and play his clarinet. But he moves like someone who still has a lot of story in him to tell. And whether he does it with his friends like he does with John Turturro here, or on his own, thank god. 

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