Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

The Surreal World 

Love Comes Lately: A Lifetime-like Movie With An Absurd Twist

A curious but not unappealing blend of Eastern European magical realism and a lovable-old-coot Lifetime movie, Love Comes Lately could only have come from the pen of Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer. Based on three of Singer’s short stories (The Briefcase, Alone and Old Love), Lately is framed as a contemporary Yiddish folk tale. The old-world flavor and literary sensibility come as much from Singer as from German writer-director Jan Schütte who’s making his English-language debut here. (None of Schütte’s previous work has been released in America.)

Schütte’s film makes an interesting companion piece to last year’s art-house hit Starting Out in the Evening, in which Frank Langella played another Jewish literary lion enduring the indignities of senescence. But unlike Langella’s Leonard Schiller, Otto Tausig’s Max Kohn doesn’t appear to have a problem with writer’s block or finding a date. Austrian émigré Max keeps himself busy writing short stories on his trusty old typewriter and fending off — and occasionally succumbing — to the advances of a series of predatory women. All this despite being involved in a 12-year relationship with the long-suffering Reisel (Rhea Perlman).

The movie’s jumping-off point is the trip Max takes to deliver a lecture (“Faith and Free Will in Modern Literature”) at a New Hampshire college. En route, Max falls asleep on the train and dreams he’s the lead character in his latest story. Widowed Miami tourist Simon (Tausig again) has a series of bizarrely elliptical adventures, many of which involve the opposite sex. Once Max arrives on campus, he’s immediately seduced by modern Hebrew literature professor — and former student — Rosalie Kaddish (Barbara Hershey, still beautiful after all these years). “There are no happy endings in the real world, are there?” responds Max when someone asks why the endings of his stories are so depressing. Schütte wisely ignores his protagonist’s dyspeptic worldview, delivering a bittersweet capper as delicately absurd as it is lovely.

Love Comes Lately
Cleveland Museum of Art.
At 7 p.m. Friday, December 19
and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, December 21

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Milan Paurich

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Season's Bleedings @ Capitol Theatre

    • Sat., Dec. 4
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show @ Cedar Lee Theatre

    • First Saturday of every month

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation