The Man From Elysian Fields

The Man From Elysian Fields


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The second novel is the hardest. This is a movie about how hard.

Byron Tiller's first was controversial. It told of Adolf Hitler's son, who miraculously survived the Berlin bunker and escaped to South America.

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When he takes his second to the publisher, it is politely, yet firmly, rejected. He pleads poverty and emotional distress, but is told, "All the best novels are written in desperation," to which he replies, "So are the best suicide notes."

Philip Jayson Lasker's screenplay is full of seductive one-liners like this, which bodes well for the rest of the movie. Also, it's good to see Garcia playing a sympathetic husband and father, rather than a hoodlum.

The plot is quirky, which means it has potential. Sadly, credibility sinks into a mire of sentiment.

Rather than admit to his wife (Julianna Margulies) that he's a failure, he takes up an offer from a jaded gigolo (Mick Jagger), who runs an escort agency in Pasadena, and is packed off to accompany the wife (Olivia Williams) of Byron's favourite author (James Coburn) to the opera. This leads to you-know-what and you-don't-know-what. In the you-don't-know category is a ghost-writing assignment to help the great man finish his final tome.

Coburn is Coburn and Williams is beginning to resemble Julie Andrews. An unexpected treat is The Rolling Stone, dressed by Saville Row and sporting a piquant pink tie, talking pseudo posh and matching Dame Elton for campiness.

Why does Mrs Tiller take forever to wonder why Byron doesn't come home nights?

The moral of the story is that gigolos are hired help and marriage is not just for Christmas.

Reviewed on: 06 Mar 2002
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A struggling writer becomes an escort to make ends meet.
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Director: George Hickenlooper

Writer: Philip Jayson Lasker

Starring: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, James Coburn, Mick Jagger, Olivia Williams, Anjelica Huston, Michael Des Barres

Year: 2001

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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