The Humbling (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Humbling
The Humbling film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Barry Levinson
Produced by Al Pacino
Jason Sosnoff
Monika Bacardi
Ged Dickersin
Kristina Dubin
Andrea Iervolino
Gisella Marengo
Written by Buck Henry
Michal Zebede
Based on The Humbling
by Philip Roth
Starring Al Pacino
Greta Gerwig
Dianne Wiest
Charles Grodin
Kyra Sedgwick
Music by Marcelo Zarvos
Cinematography Adam Jandrup
Edited by Aaron Yanes
Ambi Pictures
Hammerton Productions
Distributed by Millennium Films
Release date
  • August 30, 2014 (2014-08-30) (VIFF)
  • January 23, 2015 (2015-01-23) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million

The Humbling is a 2014 erotic comedy film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Buck Henry and Michal Zebede, based on the 2009 novel, The Humbling, written by Philip Roth. The film stars Al Pacino, Greta Gerwig, Dianne Wiest, Charles Grodin and Kyra Sedgwick. It was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival[1] and in the Out of Competition section of the 71st Venice International Film Festival. The film was released on January 23, 2015, by Millennium Films.


Simon Axler is an aging actor who suffers from bouts of dementia. He is institutionalized after an incident during a Broadway play, then returns home, where he contemplates suicide. When he embarks upon an affair with a friend's amoral lesbian daughter, his world starts to fall apart. It ends on stage, with even Axler's audience and fellow actors unsure what's real and what's not.



After reading and connecting with the book, Pacino decided to option the book and asked Barry Levinson to direct it. [2] Levinston decided to make the movie as a dark comedy noting that " If you want to talk about an older actor in decline, just to do it as some straight drama didn’t seem that intriguing to me" also citing that comedy" seemed to me inherent in the piece".[3] Although both Pacino and Levinston have denied that the character of Simon is autobiographical to Pacino's life,[3] Pacino noted that he related to the material stating that " It’s in, as they say, my wheelhouse"[2]

Although the film in the beginning had ample funding, the listed conditions got too much for Levinson who backed out and lost by his estimate "somewhere in the area of $6 million."[3] Subsequently it was decided to shoot the film incrementally with several breaks built in to accommodate Pacino's schedule. This was a new experience for Levinson although he welcomed the change of pace as "It added to the clarity."[3]

On February 4, 2014, it was announced that Millennium Films had acquired the worldwide rights to the film.[4]


The Humbling received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 52%, based on 50 reviews, with a rating of 5.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Humbling is an inarguable highlight of Al Pacino's late-period filmography, but that's an admittedly low bar that it doesn't always clear by a very wide margin."[5] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 59 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]


  1. ^ "Toronto Film Festival Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Hammond, Pete. "Al Pacino In-Depth: On ‘The Humbling’, Old Vs. New Hollywood And ‘Scarface’". Deadline. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d Guerrasio, Jason. "Barry Levinson on making little movies in a big age". The Dissolve. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (4 February 2014). "Al Pacino’s ‘The Humbling’ Gets Distribution". Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Humbling". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  6. ^ "The Humbling Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 

External links[edit]