The Man from Elysian Fields (2001)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama, Slice of Life  |   Release Date - Oct 4, 2002 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Dan Friedman

The Man From Elysian Fields is a quiet character study that represents some of the best work its participants have ever done. The stellar lead is Andy Garcia, who plays a best-selling novelist who can't break through his writer's block and turns to work at an escort service when his bills begin to overwhelm him. Garcia plays the tormented artist, the concerned father, and the embarrassed escort with equal aplomb, and we feel that his character is a real living, breathing person. The same can't be said for Mick Jagger, in a rare acting turn, who comes across as a bit stiff, but being who he is, does lend a certain air of decadence mixed with class on the virtue of his persona alone. Jagger's scene with his long-standing client, played by an uncredited Anjelica Huston, in which he professes his love for her, is a very remarkable piece of acting and one wishes he could have extended it to the rest of his performance. The real pleasure of the film, perhaps because it turned out to be one of his last roles, is James Coburn as a famous writer who hires Garcia to pleasure his wife (Olivia Williams) and eventually takes him on as a collaborator. This character is made all the more poignant because he is dying, and with Coburn's fate known at this point, it lends an extra aura of sympathy to him. Nevertheless, the man is in top form and the scenes where he and Garcia battle through their collaboration are excellent. Moreover, the film has a rich and colorful look to it that works very, very well in conjunction with the set designs, particularly the formerly opulent house that Coburn and Williams occupy. The cinematography is most definitely a part of this film to be consciously enjoyed.