Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING
Directed by: Andrew Wagner
Running time: 115 minutes
Release date: November 23, 2007
Genre: Drama and Adaptation
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
MPAA Rating: PG-13
This superb drama is based on the novel by Brian Morton focusing on an aging author Leonard Schiller (Frank Langella) living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan whose goal is to finish writing a novel. Completion of this novel has eluded him for several years. His life is limited to his writing, nursing a weak heart, and staying in touch with the outside world by regular visits from his middle aged single daughter Ariel (Lili Taylor) who remains in a disappointing relationship with musician Vasey Davis (Adrian Lester).
Leonard's life takes a sudden turn when Heather Wolfe (Lauren Ambrose), a young, attractive, smart and aggresive graduate student convinces him that she can use her thesis on his work to bring him back into the literary work spotlight once again. The two spend day after day together and then night after night together. The reawakening in Leonard's life is shattering to his daughter Ariel, because Leonard and Heather's relationship is both artistic and romantic. Leonard's heart can't withstand such excitement from a young suitor and with news of Ariel's unplanned pregnancy, things take a turn for the worst. But as a good writer, he uses these life experiences for his book.
Frank Langella has been doing stage work for quite some time. He received a Tony for his theater work in Frost/Nixon. His stage experience was exposed on the cinematic screen, and it served him well. His performance in the narrative was brilliant. He had extensive dialogue in this film and with the theater experience of using long dialogue, he managed to do an exceptional job in his performance. The stellar ensemble cast was great and the film location of New York City was the added character to make this movie complete. This is a great Frank Langella vehicle.
FILM RATING (A-)