Listen Up Philip (2014)



Critic Consensus: As thought-provoking as it is uncompromising, Listen Up Philip finds writer-director Alex Ross Perry taking a creative step forward while hearkening back to classic neurotic comedies of '70s cinema.

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A complex, intimate, and highly idiosyncratic comedy, Listen Up Philip is a literary look at the triumph of reality over the human spirit. Anger rages in Philip (Jason Schwartzman) as he awaits the publication of his sure-to-succeed second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley (Elisabeth Moss), and his indifference to promoting his own work. When Philip's idol Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce) offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject - himself. (C) Tribeca
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Jason Schwartzman
as Philip Lewis Friedman
Elisabeth Moss
as Ashley Kane
Jonathan Pryce
as Ike Zimmerman
Krysten Ritter
as Melanie Zimmerman
Josephine de la Baume
as Yvette Dussart
Jess Weixler
as Holly Kane
Keith Poulson
as Josh Fawn
Maite Alina
as Clare
Lee Wilkof
as Uncle Jonathan
Stephen Boyer
as Parker
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Critic Reviews for Listen Up Philip

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (36)

Like its central character, Listen Up Philip exudes a kind of highbrow affectation that charms more than it alienates.

Full Review… | August 16, 2016
Top Critic

Well-written, strongly acted, and often very funny ...

Full Review… | December 30, 2015
Top Critic

If Philip showed a bit of personality beyond being a boor and a bore, he might be worth almost two hours of attention.

Full Review… | November 13, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Perry's acerbic sense of the literary/academic lifestyle - which, oddly enough, involves less actual writing and teaching than drinking and "thinking" - is both exceptionally funny and deeply sad.

Full Review… | November 6, 2014
Washington Post
Top Critic

Why would anyone want to spend time with these people? Because they're fools with great gifts, and Perry almost lovingly explores the gulf between the beauty with which they create and the smallness with which they live.

Full Review… | October 30, 2014
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Written and directed by Alex Ross Perry, Listen Up Philip looks like the kind of movie film classes would study in the 1970s.

October 24, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Listen Up Philip

Not as ambitious as Impolex or funny as The Color Wheel, Listen Up Philip is nonetheless more polished than both and consists of Alex Ross Perry's typically cynical and acerbic wit.

Alex Suszko
Alex Suszko

Listen Up Philip is something of a rarity in the sense that it means to appear to have itself completely together yet be about a man who can't figure himself out despite his composed, external appearance. The titular character being a narcissistic albeit creative individual with a short fuse and a big mouth is about as pompous as you could imagine while having something of the credulity to act as such, but not enough notoriety to have earned it. This is to say that it presents its main character in an honest and brutal way with a sleekness that oozes through every piece of dialogue, but is so specifically calculated we realize from the beginning it is making up for so much that Philip is ultimately lacking. That the effort he puts into consistently sounding superior in intelligence and in life in general is so draining that it must serve as the most urgent of responsibilities if he's unable to let the actions of his life speak for themselves. That said, writer and director Alex Ross Perry (who I've not seen any of his previous work) does allow for a surprising amount of telegraphed emotions beyond his elegant dialogue that so exactly captures the spirit and mindset of those who believe they are entitled to more because they possess more talent than the common man. Philip Lewis Friedman (Jason Schwartzman) is hopeless, desperate even at the point in life in which we meet him when he should instead be feeling unstoppable. He thought he should be feeling unstoppable as well and because this moment in his life he's been working towards has finally happened and that it is something of a disappointment leaves his personality that is typically so set on his own conceit that he doesn't know how to handle the loss of hope and pride he once held in such high esteem. Of course, Philip would never admit to this kind of defeat or despondency as the film refers to it, but if Listen Up Philip is actually about anything it is the defeat of the human spirit and how each individuals perspective on life combined with their egotism shapes how they come out on the other side. read the whole review at

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer


Dark comedies centered on self-obsessed and vicious geniuses are quickly becoming an insufferable cliche, but Alex Ross Perry avoids that by taking the time to seriously examine characters that generally are superfluous outliers in these kinds of films (specifically the jilted girlfriend and the enabling older mentor). This gives the character study scope, but never sacrifices intimacy.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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