The Humbling

Following a breakdown and suicide attempt, an aging actor becomes involved with a much younger woman but soon finds that it's difficult to keep pace with her.


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  • ★★★½ review by Nathan Rabin on Letterboxd

    More like The Bumbling! Nah, I enjoyed this old man movie about being an old man movie. It was old in a way I could really relate to and Pacino hasn't been this reined in since forever. He doesn't even mention how Gerwig has a GREAT ASS.

  • ★★★½ review by Bram Bramsky on Letterboxd

    Barry Levinson brings this film that has been disappointing audiences in Venice. It feels like Al Pacino was in monologue mode throughout this entire movie, which is somewhat appropriate since he is portraying a suicidal actor that struggles with his stage career, oddly similar to Birdman. He tends to bumble around like old men do. This is an old man movie.

    Me, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Its quite funny in a quiet way, with the whole movie framed around Pacino talking to his therapist about the events of the film, much like a reality program. Cue the several eccentric characters that move through his life, and they're practically all like this. Watch a depressed character try to interact with the strangest people. Fun to watch, and with a witty script. Some of these characters veered a little too far into wacky comedy territory and Greta Gerwig's character is a bit too childish that it becomes grating at some points.

    Probably Levinson's best film and Pacino's best performance in years (haven't seen Manglehorn). Levinson does some cool shots with handheld cameras. Pretty impressive that they shot this in 20 days and with a low budget.

    Not bad at all.

  • ★★★½ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd


    The Dissolve review. A hot mess of a film that I'd never in a million years have guessed was directed by Barry Levinson. Great to see Gerwig kick ass in something other than her usual register.

  • ★★★½ review by Dave on Letterboxd

    Barry Levinson has one of the strangest, most inconsistent careers in the business. Whenever you see his name attached to a project, you wonder if you'll get stinkers like Toys and Rock the Kasbah, or under appreciated gems like You Don't Know Jack and Avalon, or well-made dramas like Sleepers and Diner. Maybe you'll be surprised it's a Barry Levinson project (The Bay and Sphere), or wonder if he will ever make another classic again (Bugsy and Rain Man), or perhaps you'll just think that maybe he needs to stop making movies (Jimmy Hollywood and Envy). 

    Then comes along a movie you would expect to throw in the clunkers pile, and end up appreciating it on a level you'd never expect. The Humbling is not a great film and won't be remembered among Levinson's finest works. But it is a surprisingly potent dramedy about a serious actor with dementia who prepares to step away from the stage for good. As we all know, Al Pacino has played washed up characters many times over the years, but this one...this one's different. 

    The way the story is told, we can never tell what's real and what's happening inside Pacino's head. I particularly admired the way the film twists the conventions of the tired tale of an older guy who falls for a woman half his age (Greta Gerwig). You'd think she brightens his life and saves him (providing the youthful vitality he sorely desires), but it's not quite so simple. The film's juices flow when these two push each other's buttons; it's a great dynamic and refreshing to see Gerwig stretch in such a fierce and commanding role. Pacino and the great Dianne Wiest have a pair of fantastic scenes in which they square off with intense bitterness. Other accomplished actors like Charles Grodin, Dylan Baker, Dan Hedaya and Kyra Sedgwick pop up to fill Pacino's crazy world of theatrics.

    The Humbling surprised me. It's much deeper than I anticipated (and also very funny, despite its serious subject), and best of all, it proves that at age 74, Al Pacino's still got it.

  • ★★★★ review by Diogenis Papadopoulos on Letterboxd

    Strange though as it may seem, this is a role which Pacino would have rejected some many years ago. It sounds logical; It's a story which really needs the guts and the experience that Al has NOW. That's why he gives a marvelous performance in his second collaboration with Barry Levinson.

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