Coming to theaters from writer/director Daniel Noah and Paladin comes the story of a life that changes one more time in the man known as “Max Rose.”
Max (Jerry Lewis) is a retired jazz musician who is dealing with the death of his wife Eva. Taking him through the motions is Annie Rose (Kerry Bishe) as the relationship with son Christopher (Kevin Pollack) is a harsh one.
Looking for a reason to move each day, Max tries to find a rhythm to his life. All that is about to change when Max is going through Eva’s thinks and discovers a love letter from someone else. Not understanding how it is possible, Max becomes angry believing that the life he cherished may have been all a lie.
Taking his frustration out even more on son Christopher, Max begins to pull away from everyone. There is only one way to find out the truth about the letter as Max decides to find the man who wrote it. He desperately needs to discover if everything he believed about the life he shared with Eva is an illusion or the truth.
He is about to discover more than he bargained for.
Lewis as Max Rose is absolutely stunning. The moment his sad face shows on screen he has me believing that this character is devastated by the death of his wife. Watching his interaction with family and how they immediately hover over him it endearing and hard at the same time. When Lewis takes this character into the fiery place of wanting answers, it is in the final moments of the film that just took my breath away.
Bishe as Annie is so caring, loving and wanting the best for Max. I actually started to feel a little confined by her character which means her portrayal of this character is a job well done. Pollack as Christopher has the tough role, that of a son who just wants the love of an aged father. Again, it is difficult to watch Lewis and Pollack go at it without really ever getting loud about it. All of it was on Pollack’s face – so well done.
Other cast include Dean Stockwell as Ben Tracey, Fred Willard as Jim Clark, Ileana Douglas as Jenny Flowers, Lee Miller as Lee Weaver, Mort Sahl as Jack Murphy, Valerie Hurt as Kathleen and Claire Bloom as Eva Rose.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Max Rose” four tubs of popcorn out of five. Of course I’m a tad partial because I grew up in the era of Jerry Lewis and find him to be so under rated as a dramatic actor. It has taken until now perhaps for others to discover what I always knew. Each of the performances add so much to Lewis’ and how he plays off each is just beautiful.
It would be easy to say this is a simple tale simply told but it isn’t, not by a long shot. Instead of shooting a lot of unnecessary scenes, director Noah kept his eye on the story and let these marvelous actors do what they are legendary for doing – reaching down deep to bring viewers something beautiful and memorable.
The story is one of looking back at life and discovering it isn’t anything like we remember. Maybe the details are a little sketchy and time has twisted things either into shape or out of shape and this film reminds us of the actual truth in it all.
Bring tissue because this one is going to bring it all close to home.
In the end — the legend is back!