A failed novelist's inability to pay the bills strains relations with his wife and leads him to work at an escort service where he becomes entwined with a wealthy woman whose husband is a successful writer.
The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Connecticut.
Byron Tiller, happily married with a young child, is a writer whose last novel has ended up in the remainder bins. Down on his luck and struggling to make ends meet, he keeps bashing away, refusing to admit that perhaps he is not that good. One day, at wit's end and feeling sorry for himself, he meets someone who has actually read his book: a rather elegant looking Englishman who introduces himself as Luther Fox. Luther runs an escort agency Elysian Fields, which provides extremely wealthy women with attractive, intelligent dates. Desperate for any job- and Luther guarantees good pay and convinces him that it can be only temporary -Byron reluctantly agrees, keeping the whole thing hidden from his wife. He soon finds himself face-to-face with an extremely attractive woman, whose aging husband is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist grappling with a novel that may be his last. Before long, Byron finds himself immersed in a world that he finds almost impossible to believe and even harder to... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Being in the arts is difficult. It's damn near impossible to make a living doing something in this field because everyone wants to do it, and so much is gambled onto one product. Just look at all the hopeful actors and actresses who wait tables while praying for a big break into the movie business. You either hit it big, or end up in the gutter; there's hardly any middle ground. That is the situation that allows the events of George Hickenlooper's near masterful film, "The Man from Elysian Fields" to take place.
Byron Tiller (Andy Garcia) is a writer; he's got one book under his belt, but sales were in the tank. After his next book, which he spent 7 years working on, is rejected, he needs money...fast! Help comes from a man down the hall, named Luther Fox (Mick Jagger). He runs an escort service. Reluctantly, Byron agrees, which puts him into contact with Andrea Alcott (Olivia Williams), and her husband Tobias (James Coburn), who is a renowned author. But his newfound road to success may just cause him to lose his marriage to Dena (Juliana Margulies).
The acting is top notch. Andy Garcia plays Byron in his usual low key way, but he brings a level of depth to the character that is not usually seen in many films. Mick Jagger defies the trend of music stars churning out bomb movies because they can't act. Jagger plays Fox with a cracking wit, but he also is able to give the character some extraordinary depth. Olivia Williams is terrific as Byron's beautiful client. She loves her husband dearly, but she needs a release that he can no longer give her. Fortunately for her, Tobias understands that, and is perfectly fine with her sleeping with Byron. James Coburn is terrific as Tobias. Tobias is a dying writer who has accepted his fate with wit, if not grace. But he still has his pride. TV star Juliana Margulies has made only a few ventures into film, but she fits right in as Byron's loving and devoted wife.
Although the film has flaws, they are not with the screenplay. Simply put, this is one of the best screenplays I have ever heard. Every line has immense depth and intellect, and the wit crackles. There are a number of brilliant one-liners (the best one is not shown in the trailer, thank God). However, these are not the one-liners that appear so often in a David Spade movie. Instead, these are just very clever.
The problems I had with the film is that when the film enters dark territory, such as when it shows Byron at his most desperate, it becomes unpleasant, and it ruins the spell that the movie works so hard to cast. This is partly due to George Hickenlooper, but mainly because the actors play their parts so well.
This is a must-see for any adult film-goer who appreciates films with wit, depth and rich characters.
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