Richard Gere’s Darker Roles In ‘Time Out Of Mind’, ‘The Benefactor’

Richard Gere has always been known for his roles in romance movies, such as Pretty Woman and An Officer and a Gentleman, but those were his younger days. Now Gere is turning to a different and darker type of role and exploring where that takes him. Big Issue reported in December that one of his most recent roles was that of homeless man, George, in Time out of Mind.

Richard Gere said the role opened his eyes to the issue of homelessness.

“I was invisible in New York. Because I was this character, people decided within two blocks of seeing me that I was homeless, and didn’t look any further. No one made any eye contact. It was confusing and profound.”

He continued about the impact of playing the role of George.

“If Richard Gere, who has money and fame – and in this situation everyone thinks kindly about me – if I can stand on a street corner and be treated like garbage? That’s a profound lesson for me personally but for an audience it should be as well. It radically changed my view of myself and of the social fabric around me.”

Check out the trailer for Time Out of Mind. It is clearly a powerful film.

So what about Richard Gere’s newest movie, The Benefactor? Reviews are somewhat mixed, although most agree that Richard Gere’s performance is stellar.

In The Benefactor, Gere plays the part of Franny, a wealthy and clinically depressed alcoholic and addict who feels responsible for Olivia, the daughter of his friends who were killed in a car accident he survived.

The Washington Post was less positive, saying that the movie is “marred by cliches and repetitive flashbacks” and that Richard Gere’s performance was disappointing.

“Mostly, The Benefactor is an opportunity for Gere to chew the scenery. Although his character sings, curses and generally behaves badly, Gere delivers all of this with a staginess that does not resemble recognizable human behavior.”

The New York Times implies that the type of role Richard Gere plays in The Benefactor is one that has been waiting for him.

“The potential for evil, often tinged with twisted sexual menace, has always lurked in Mr. Gere’s eyes, which when narrowed can suggest the diabolical mind of torturer. And Mr. Gere milks the subtext of this mentor-protégé connection for all its worth.”

LA Weekly reports that Richard Gere is “haunted and unsettling.”

“Gere is haunted and unsettling, occasionally flip in that Bill Murray way — he’s adept at fast-talk and warm self-regard, at the showy, defensive poses of a man who only playacts that he’s inviting you in.”

A common opinion of The Benefactor is that the first half of the movie is set up beautifully, but the movie fails in the second half, falling into the clichéd genre of an addiction movie. But movies aside, Richard Gere is nothing like his character in The Benefactor. In fact, Daily Mail reports that he recently attended the Broadway play Hamilton, along with a number of other celebrities, to lend his support.

Richard Gere, as well as Tom Cruise and Glenn Close, posed for photographs with the cast of the play and generally showed their appreciation of the stage. Gere was at the event with his girlfriend, 34-year-old Alejandra Silva. The couple only made information about their relationship public in June at the 61st Annual Taormina Film Festival in Italy.

Richard Gere has certainly created a fabulous reputation for himself as an actor and it is great to see that he is expanding on the types of roles he plays. His dapper and gentlemanly appearance certainly lends itself to more serious and darker roles.

[Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images]