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Monday, July 17, 2017

The Roman Spring Of Mrs. Stone (2003)

An aging actress (Helen Mirren) retires from the stage and moves to Italy with her husband (Brian Dennehy). But when her husband dies and she is left alone, an impoverished Contessa (Anne Bancroft) who runs a stable of gigolos introduces her to a handsome young man (Olivier Martinez). A remake of the 1961 film based on the 1950 novel by Tennessee Williams and directed by Robert Allan Ackerman. The film follows the same path as the 1961 movie but the sex is much more graphic (actually there was almost no actual sex in the 1961 film) but it's not gratuitous. It reveals the loneliness, hunger and even humiliation that Mirren's Mrs. Stone endures. The film is also one up on the 1961 film because the central role of the gigolo is much better cast and Martinez is more convincing than Warren Beatty (although he did look the part). Bancroft, in her final film role, is impressive as the calculating pimp. I'd say the 1961 film still has the edge though there is much to admire here. With Roger Allam and Rodrigo Santoro.

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