Renamed: The Humbling released on UK VOD as The Last Act
James R | On 02, May 2015
Al Pacino. Greta Gerwig. Barry Levinson. That’s the kind of line-up that’s guaranteed to catch your attention. Which is why it’s a surprise to see The Humbling, a film involving all three, sneak quietly on to VOD before it hits DVD with a different name: The Last Act.
The movie, based on the novel The Humbling by Philip Roth, follows stage actor Simon Axler, who becomes depressed and then suicidal when he loses his mojo. In an attempt to get it back, he has an affair with a lesbian woman half his age (Gerwig), only for things to start to unravel.
The script is penned by Michal Zebede and Buck Henry, the screenwriter of The Graduate, two more names that no doubt helped the film to screen in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and also out of competition in last year’s Venice International Film Festival. Here in the UK, though, Lionsgate – who are distributing the film – have released it with barely a whisper on digital platforms. iTunes even still lists the title as “The Humbilng” in its description. (The movie’s EST release also extends to Wuaki. tv, blinkbox, Amazon Instant Video and Google Play. It will be available to rent from Monday 4th May, when it will also be on DVD.)
Renaming is no new trend in the international film world. Sometimes, as in the case of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, it’s to avoid confusion with other titles. Sometimes, in the case of Bad Land: Road to Fury (out this weekend on VOD and in cinemas), it’s to deliberately associate it with another, higher profile title. Sometimes, it’s to shield people in a new territory from negative buzz. On Rotten Tomatoes, The Humbling has a mixed rating of 52%, far from a wipe-out immediately worth burying.
Why, then, has the latest movie from the Oscar-winning director of Rain Man been renamed and released online without a cinema release? We’ll be bringing you a review shortly to find out. Until then, here’s a trailer: