Here’s the latest from Movieguide.org, the family guide to movie reviews.

FADING GIGOLO is a well directed and acted comedy about a financially struggling old man, who convinces his younger friend to become a male prostitute while using the old man as his pimp. Partly a comical character study, FADING GIGOLO has a very strong mixed pagan worldview with some Romantic elements making light fun of strict Jewish rules and some slight moral elements as the younger friend begins to have guilt feelings about what he’s doing.
Murray (Woody Allen) is a rare-books storeowner who has to close his business, but has a younger black wife and children to support. He tells his longtime younger friend, Fio (short for Fioravante and played by John Turturro), that he should consider being a gigolo, providing “sexual healing” to rich women all over Manhattan. Fio at first scoffs at the idea, but then succumbs to curiosity when he also has a money crunch.
Soon, Fio is having relations with women all over Manhattan, especially with Murray’s doctor, Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone), who’s mad at her husband, who’s hardly home and wants not only to commit adultery, but also have a threesome with a man and another woman. Fio proves to be the right man for the job, and he and Murray are soon making a ton of money keeping Dr. Parker, her friend and other women happy.
However, when Murray tries to get Fio to be with a grieving Orthodox Jewish widow, Avigal, Fio finds it will take a lot just to convince her to be touched. They begin to form a deeper emotional bond without getting sexual. Meanwhile, they are followed by a Jewish policeman (Liev Schreiber), Dovi, who has had a long crush on Avigal and wonders what’s going on between her, Fio and Murray.
What will Dovi do if he finds out the truth?
John Turturro (of EXODUS and O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?) not only stars as Fio in FADING GIGOLO, he also wrote and directed the movie. While the subject matter is certainly immoral, he does handle it with as much class and discretion as possible. A top notch actor himself who’s worked with expert filmmakers, Turturro displays a solid talent for directing other actors, including Woody Allen, who actually turns in one of his better performances. The movie’s appealing musical score compliments the story and characters perfectly, going from jazz riffs to some Latin music, and from Dean Martin’s saucy “Sway” to a quiet ballad.
[SPOILERS FOLLOW] The story takes an admirable turn when Fio gets involved with the grieving Jewish widow and finds himself falling for her. In fact, she inspires him to quit being a gigolo, and he inspires her to get over her sorrow, depression and loneliness over her husband’s death, which occurred two years before the movie’s story. However, the ending finds Fio in a diner meeting again with Murray, who comically tries to convince him to keep working as a gigolo. Fio turns him down, but they meet a pretty Frenchwoman in the diner, and the movie’s last shot is a close-up of Fio reconsidering his decision to stop being a gigolo.
Thus, while FADING GIGOLO is certainly entertaining and sometimes even quietly touching, it has a very strong, unacceptable mixed pagan worldview with some strong foul language and a fair amount of explicit lewd content. Also, the movie seems to take a Romantic attitude against the strict morality of Orthodox Jewish communities. That said, though he does a couple wrong things, the Orthodox policeman ultimately is a positive character with a good heart, who’s clearly merely protective of the woman he secretly loves.

The post FADING GIGOLO appeared first on Movieguide | The Family Guide to Movie Reviews.

Read the Original Article Here

%d bloggers like this: