Release Date: May 9, 2014
Running Time: 96 minutes
Woody Allen is not the writer/director of Fading Gigolo but his influence on this sophisticated sex comedy is undeniable. In his fifth directorial effort, John Turturro stars as Fioravante, a flower arranger who moonlights as a gigolo under the management of Allen’s former bookstore owner Murray. While Murray’s selling sex to Fioravante’s upscale clients, Fading Gigolo isn’t just about pleasures of the flesh. Turturro offers a thoughtful Allen-esque meditation on the lengths to which lonely people go to fill the emotional holes in their lives. This is mostly explored in the warm relationship that develops between Fioravante and Vanessa Paradis’ Avigal, the widow of a Hasidic rabbi who is struggling to move forward on her own. Avigal’s presence in Fading Gigolo naturally allows for Allen and his slightly neurotic Murray to offer more amusing insights on several of his favorite topics, most notably death and religion. The latter informs Fioravante’s efforts to make Avigal at ease with him, which in turn allows him to help her feel comfortable in her own skin. Fioravante’s very much an old soul, and the gentle Turturro fills him with an uncommon compassion that provokes an immediate positive response from those he services. Avigal’s appointments with Fioravante lead up to a hilarious showdown between Murray and some very concerned Hasidic rabbis. While Fading Gigolo is attentive to the needs of Fioravante’s clients, including those like Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara who just want some male company between the sheets, it also examines what makes Fioravante’s life incomplete. Does Fioravante need the love of a good woman? It’s a question that Fading Gigolo asks about a man who seemingly is at peace with his place in the world and is paid to enjoy the company of women. Not that Fading Gigolo ever equates sexual intimacy to love. That’s never more evident in the strong, long-term relationship Allen enjoys in Fading Gigolo, which is certainly different than most of the emotionally and sexually unfulfilled characters he writes for himself. Not that this stops Murray from acting like a giddy schoolboy around every beautiful young woman he encounters. You can take Woody Allen out of a Woody Allen comedy but you can’t Woody Allen out of a comedy by John Turturro. But who’s complaining? And who’s not going to buy what Turturro’s selling?
Aired: May 8, 2014
Web site: http://fadinggigolo-movie.com/