Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 08, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Man from Elysian Fields

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
106 minutes
Limited Release Date
09/27/02
performer
James Coburn, Andy Garcia, Olivia Williams, Anjelica Huston, Mick Jagger, Julianna Margulies
director
George Hickenlooper
distributor
Samuel Goldwyn Films
author
Phillip Jayson Lasker
genre
Drama

We gave it an C

Creative artists are whores, they’re sexual dynamos, they’re gods, and they’re devils in The Man From Elysian Fields, a pompous and garbled parable about how terribly, terribly difficult it is to make it as a creative artist, and how important it is to maintain high standards of haberdashery. The muse is a bitch even for a novelist as photogenic as Byron Tiller (Andy Garcia), married to an adoring wife as TV-drama-sincere as Julianna Margulies. So in his self-pitying poverty, Byron accepts a mysterious job offer to become a gigolo, an employee of the Elysian Fields escort service.

Well, who wouldn’t: Mick Jagger runs the joint as escort-in-chief, himself increasingly attracted to a longtime client, and who wouldn’t be — she’s played by Anjelica Huston. The two old foxes steal the movie; Jagger, especially, prowls the velvety shadows purring like a hepcat. He can’t, however, escape the murk of the central drama, in which Byron’s services to a rich wife (Olivia Williams) include great sex — and shoring up the leonine reputation of her dying (and gigolo-approving) Pulitzer Prize-winning husband (James Coburn) by rewriting what is to be the old man’s final novel. The book, like the wife, is revivified by Byron’s very special touch. But if he’s so godlike (the man is, after all, from the celestially named Elysian Fields), why does Garcia look so perpetually fallen-to-earth glum?

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