Romance, flowers and all that jazz

Romance, flowers and all that jazz

Romance, flowers and all that jazz

Fading Gigolo

English (A) ***

Director: John Turturro

Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber

An amicable septuagenarian in a Jewish neighbourhood in Brooklyn tries to coax his nondescript florist friend into a ménage à trois with the former’s dermatologist. 

What ensues is a soft, endearing tale, involving a widow, a secret admirer and some appropriate jazz that flows and meanders in sync with the mood of the movie. It is once in a while that conventionally inelegant themes like these are portrayed in a sophisticated manner and make the viewer actually feel at ease, maybe even putting a quaint smile on their faces.

Murray (Woody Allen), the owner of a rare and used book shop which has to be shut, is asked by his attractive dermatologist (Sharon Stone) to find a man who is willing to be a part of a ménage with her and her friend.

 Murray approaches Fioravante (John Turturro), a florist, grappling with finances. A price of $1,000 is what is at stake. Of course, Murray gets a cut, price negotiabe.
Fioravante is subsequently introduced to many other women, leading to further encounters. 

Enter Avigail (Vanessa Paradis), a widow of a rabbi of the Hasidic Jews. True to her faith, mother to her six children and the never-taking-off-her-sheitel woman. 

A massage session with Fioravante breaks Avigail down. Turturro has done a beautiful job in conveying the profounder meaning of a touch that can be so comfortingly pristine. 

The conversation involving pseudonyms for the two men and Fioravante terming Murray a pimp is charming, without a hint of vulgarity. 

Murray’s African-American family adds colour to the plot with its innocence and vivaciousness. 

Liev Schreiber as Dovi, the neighbourhood patrol man of Shomrim has done well as the jealous and silent friend. Sofia Vergara is impeccable as the “over-enthusiastic” rich woman, who ‘scouts’ for partners. 

Woody Allen has aged well, like wine, from being Alvy Singer to Murray. Turturro is at his dexterous best, both with directorial and acting skills. 

A different yet familiar plot, the story runs smoothly like a needle on a record. A refresher for the senses numbed from mundane entertainment.