Sex and old people: a topic Hollywood shuns except when icky laughs are needed, à la You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. But in this bittersweet drama, based on stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Manhattan-based writer Max Kohn (Tausig) has entered his eighth decade with libido intact, his erotic imagination immune to both physical infirmity and the vigilant oversight of longtime lover Reisel (Perlman). The veteran of three marriages, Kohn continues to parse the vicissitudes of love and sex in his short stories, and escapes Reisel’s jealousy by lecturing at far-flung colleges.
During one such trip, he imagines brief encounters with three women—a crippled hotel maid (Peña) and two widows—and has a real-life fling with an old flame (Hershey).Jan Schütte, who combined three Singer stories into this sympathetic portrait of late-life lust and romance, lacks the author’s rueful grace; there’s a persistent hint of sitcom shtick in Kohn’s onscreen misadventures. But the director dodges the material’s great potential pitfall: Kohn never comes off as a dirty old man, just one who genuinely likes the ladies and who lives by the hard-won insight that human connection, even the mere hope of it, is life’s great buffer against despair.