Andy Garcia is a male escort and struggling novelist in The Man from Elysian Fields, a drama that succeeds at most levels, but not all.
Garcia is Byron Tiller, a happily married man who cannot get his latest novel published and thus is having trouble paying the bills. That is unil he meets Luther Fox (Mick Jagger, looking especially civilized), who offers him a job as a male escort. He reluctantly takes the job, without his wife (Julianna Margulies) knowing, and becomes acquainted with Andrea Allcott (Olivia Williams), the lovely wife of a much-older Pulitzer Prize-winning author (James Coburn). Her need for other men is accepted by Tobias, her husband, as he is dying and impotent. Eventually, Tobias allows Byron to co-write his latest and final novel, but at what cost?
The Man from Elysian Fields is a movie about choices and consequences. If your family is financially troubled, do you seek out a morally insensitive job that pays well or swallow your pride for something more respectable but less financially rewarding? Do you tell your wife, and is there a way to tell your wife? Et cetera, et cetera...
In many respects, The Man from Elysian Fields is a romance, but a somewhat twisted one. After all, Byron loves his wife and son so much that he is willing to sleep with another woman to provide for them. Is it love, or betrayal? It's an interesting question, and one that the movie poses quite well.
Nevertheless, as a 21-year old, I found the other elements of the film more intriguing. The large storyline about the co-authorship was very effective, and ultimately very powerful. The climax of this particular story is also infurirating.
The story between Mick Jagger and Angelica Huston is also intriguing, but also somewhat out of place. While it could have been something, very little is done with this subplot and it ends up being nothing more than just filler.
The acting, script and story are all good, but The Man from Elysian Fields perhaps is a little too depressing near the end. So many frustrating things happen near the end of the movie that it is hard to really enjoy yourself - on the other hand, the movie has drawn you in so much that you really do care about the characters.
The Man from Elysian Fields is an interesting and original drama, but does struggle near the end.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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