Jerry Lewis, 90, stars as the sad title character in “Max Rose.” (Hopper Stone/Paladin)

The intimate drama “Max Rose” feels like little more than a modest television movie. But it’s a respectable way for comedian Jerry Lewis, now 90 years old, to make what may be his valedictory performance.

Max (Lewis) is a one-time jazz pianist mourning the death of Eva (Claire Bloom, seen in flashback), his wife of 65 years. He has a strained relationship with his son, Chris (Kevin Pollak), but is doted on by his granddaughter, Annie (Kerry Bishé). After going through his wife’s belongings, the widower is stunned to find a makeup compact inscribed “to Eva from Ben,” dated 1959 — when she was presumably happily married.

Lewis’s last major role was in the 1995 comedy “Funny Bones,” but despite nods to his famous musical lip-sync routine in “The Errand Boy” and attempts by Annie to perform slapstick, “Max Rose” is a somber drama about aging and fidelity. The actor is in fine dramatic form, his once rubber-faced mugging replaced by an aged melancholy. When Max’s son places him in a nursing home, Max’s loneliness and frustration seem perfectly real. “You’re not indestructible. And it’s a disappointment,” one of his friends at the nursing home says, neatly summing up the film’s sentiment.

Writer-director Daniel Noah is primarily known as a producer of such art house films as the Iranian vampire movie “A Girl Walks Alone at Night.” “Max Rose” seems to come from someplace personal, but its pain feels dialed down a notch to make it easier to digest. Still, the movie gains resonance from its look at what may be the final years of a movie legend.

Unrated. At Landmark’s West End Cinema.
Contains nothing objectionable. 83 minutes.