Fading Gigolo Review
So Woody Allen is quite the professional pimp. Who would have thought? His classic hypochondriac typecast character is still present and accounted for, yet he’s more concerned with re-invigorating his friend’s life in the Fading Gigolo. After his book shop folds, Murray (Allen) finds that his dermatologist is in need of some love action. And who does she think to ask? One of her wrinkly old patients that is frequently in and out of her office.
Directed by and starring John Turturro, his character is as calm and collected as his beautiful flower arrangements. Fioravante is charismatic, intelligent, a cook, a dancer and a masseuse. He’s got the whole package. Murray envisages a very lucrative situation that is win win for himself and his long term friend.
Fading Gigolo is a genuinely sweet film about sexuality, sensuality and chemistry. Fioravante finds himself coming across all these traits being encapsulated by the opposite sex. Sharon Stone plays the elegant Dr.Parker caught in an unhappy marriage, whose girlfriend happens to be the sultry Selima (Sofia Vergara). However, things develop considerably when Murray offers his services to Avigal, a Jewish widow performed beautifully by Vanessa Paradis. An emotional relationship begins between the compassionate florist and the soon flourishing young mother. There is a real tenderness to the chemistry between the two characters. Unfortunately, Avigal is being watched closely by an admiring Hasidic neighbourhood patrolman. Dovi played very subtly by Liev Schreiber mumbles and grumbles around Avigal’s surprise travels into the city. The performances are delicate yet significant. Stone’s pain and anguish at her marital relationship runs deep as Fiorvante eventually becomes a materialistic object.
Fading Gigolo is Turturro’s fifth turn at directing. Before came Romance & Cigarettes in 2005 and his directorial debut, Mac in 1992. The director, better known for his zany characters on screen, has created a fairly delightful film with one of film’s most prestigious and iconic comedians. He’s done a sterling job of directing one of those actors that can either repel or attract cinema audiences.
The mixed culture of New York City plays a major theme in the film. Murray’s surrogate black family in Brooklyn coupled with the respectful Jewish families that line the streets in suspicion. The cinematography with the slick jazz sounds encapsulate the warm haze beaming from New York City’s plethora of relationships. Love, passion and friendship.
There are laughs aplenty from Allen’s warbling in front of a few scary Jews to the candid conversations between himself and his business partner within the film. The setting up of dates and aliases of the pair is endearing yet makes you wonder how lucky they are. It’s refreshing to see Allen in front of the camera instead of hidden behind the camera where he’ll no doubt be directing a shiny Hollywood cast.