Starting Out in the Evening

2007, Drama, 1h 50m

100 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

What to know

critics consensus

Starting Out in the Evening features sharp dialogue and moving performances from the talented Frank Langella and Lili Taylor. Read critic reviews

You might also like

Where to watch

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

Starting Out in the Evening Photos

Movie Info

A complex relationship develops between Leonard (Frank Langella), an academic novelist of advancing years, and Heather (Lauren Ambrose), a determined, fresh-faced graduate student doing her master's thesis on Leonard's career. Leonard keeps everyone at an emotional distance, including his devoted daughter, Ariel (Lili Taylor), and her unsettled boyfriend, Casey (Adrian Lester). Heather's attention, although motivated by selfish interests, forces Leonard to reexamine his life.

Cast & Crew

Frank Langella
Leonard Schiller
Lauren Ambrose
Heather Wolfe
Lili Taylor
Ariel Schiller
Adrian Lester
Casey Davis
Fred Parnes
Screenwriter
Andrew Wagner
Screenwriter
Greg Moyer
Executive Producer
John Sloss
Executive Producer
Douglas Harmon
Executive Producer
Allen Myerson
Executive Producer
Harlan Bosmajian
Cinematographer
Gena Bleier
Film Editor
Adam Gorgoni
Original Music
Carol Strober
Production Design
Dara Wishingrad
Art Director
Show all Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for Starting Out in the Evening

Critic Reviews for Starting Out in the Evening

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (87) | Rotten (13)

  • Quote not available.

    November 17, 2011 | Rating: 2/5
  • Starting Out in the Evening is thrilling in a way that a movie larded with car chases and explosions can seldom be, because of the way it deals with that basic building block of civilization, the creative process.

    February 24, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Langella's nuanced performance saves the film; the actor has an understated but powerful role, and he takes full advantage.

    February 8, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • Wagner's film is an elegy of sorts for that once-mighty beast known as the New York Writer, a creature that now finds itself increasingly marginalized in a world in which readers are getting scarcer and shelf space for serious fiction is dwindling daily.

    February 8, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's Langella's performance that anchors the film.

    February 7, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • What to do with this light, while it lasts? [Director] Wagner's problem is to find an answer to that question and also to offer some resolution to the conflicts of honesty and compromise the movie portrays.

    January 18, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    November 17, 2011 | Rating: 2/5
  • Starting Out in the Evening is thrilling in a way that a movie larded with car chases and explosions can seldom be, because of the way it deals with that basic building block of civilization, the creative process.

    February 24, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Langella's nuanced performance saves the film; the actor has an understated but powerful role, and he takes full advantage.

    February 8, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • Wagner's film is an elegy of sorts for that once-mighty beast known as the New York Writer, a creature that now finds itself increasingly marginalized in a world in which readers are getting scarcer and shelf space for serious fiction is dwindling daily.

    February 8, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Grace. Sophistication. Intelligence. Heart. We should all be so fortunate to be Starting Out In The Evening of our own lives.

    November 15, 2019 | Full Review…
  • For all its sturm and drang, there is an elegiac quality about the film, maybe because fewer and fewer people apparently care very much about writing or writers.

    August 22, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Starting Out in the Evening

  • Oct 10, 2012
    In what could be considered the main theme of Starting Out The Evening, there is the well thought out and acted questions regarding the relationship between a writer and his muse. Part and parcel with this is wondering how a man who is consumed by his writing, so that he almost totally withdraws from life outside of writing, can create characters who function and are relevant in the very life he has withdrawn from. This is all fascinating stuff, and since it is embodied in yet another wonderful performance by Frank Langella, you'd think that this would be a sure fire hit. Unfortunately the script veers into a very unsatisfactory second theme involving the uneven acting of Lili Taylor as Langella's 40 year old daughter, who hears her biological clock chiming midnight. I suppose that this secondary theme shows the effects of father on daughter and juxtaposes life versus the escapism Langella has perfected, but really, I feel that all things are thusly connected and in this case the secondary story line detracts rather than augments - kind of like a very weak Greek Chorus in its attempts to bring the core drama more into focus. Essentially the main story (the one worth watching) deals with a grad student (capably portrayed by Lauren Ambrose) who is writing her thesis on Langella, a former literary giant in the twilight of his career. His early scribbles led to a cathartic experience for Ambrose, who now reveres the ground the "great man" walks on - which adds an odd, yet somehow compelling bit of Lolita and a May/December romance that makes Langella begin to question everything, including the characters and plot ark of the novel he has been working on for 10 years. There are some great truths here, and Langella is superb - totally raw beneath the veneer of his intellectual civility; and yet, somehow the entire enterprise seemed derailed by the daughters' tale. It was almost like watching two different films on two screens. One held a pretty tight narrative, with some wonderful insight, that seemed very organic, while the other was full of overly obvious setups and some badly delivered, preachy dialog. At the film's close you simply see a man at his typewriter - starting over on an enterprise he knows he will probably never finish - and yet, since the act of writing defines who and what he is, he follows that instinct, just as a salmon will return to its spawning ground - whether he has anything new to say at this juncture is left to speculation - but regardless, write he must.
    paul s Super Reviewer
  • May 27, 2012
    A reserved, hard-working, washed-up novelist battles age as a young grad student interviews him for her thesis and his relationship with his daughter falters because of her choice in men. Frank Langella is phenomenal in the lead role of this tightly constructed and intelligently written drama. He lets us know Leonard Schiller in little gestures like his reflexive withdraw from Heather's kiss on his hand and some of his more impulsive actions in the third act. The character's deep pain comes through Langella's reserved exterior, and the script gives us subtle moments like his prodding of Casey about "compromise." Lauren Ambrose is almost up to the task of keeping up with Langella, but it's Lili Taylor who truly rises to the challenge as this father/daughter relationship is one of the most believable I've seen on screen in a while. The film's theme focuses on what we give up to remain sane in our relationships -- all our relationships, with each other, with our work, with our hopes for the future -- and how time is the constant antagonist. I thought the film's pace slowed down in the second act, and Schiller's attraction to Heather was never fully clear. Is this a sexual relationship in the fullest sense of the word, or is it intellectual with occasional sexual trappings? And why does Heather react as she does in the third act? Overall, this film is worth seeing for Langella and for the opportunity to see an intelligent film about intelligent people, which is a rarity in this age.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2009
    Wonderful performance from Frank Langella is the main attraction of this film. Slow and at times a little dull but worthwhile to watch a master at work.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Dec 19, 2008
    In "Starting out in the Evening," Leonard Schiller(Frank Langella) is an aging novelist whose novels have long been out of print and now teaches English at a university. Aiming to rectify that is Heather Wolfe(Lauren Ambrose), a graduate student at Brown University who wants to write her master's thesis on Leonard's books. At first, he is hesitant, not wanting to be distracted from work on his latest novel(for the record there is no greater distraction than a redhead), but having survived a heart attack the previous year, mortality is creeping up on him and Heather's mention of a University of Chicago Press contact strikes a chord, as does her own publishing success in a literary journal. "Starting out in the Evening" is a talky and theatrical movie that is salvaged by a marvelous performance by Frank Langella along with key support from Lili Taylor and Adrian Lester(Lauren Ambrose however does not fare as well). In fact, it is a late sequence between Langella and Lester that puts the movie in perspective. What it seeks to convey is the selfishness of writers in their solitary pursuit of glory. However, for Leonard who is reserved and shy, it is the perfect occupation. Considering he works not unlike a lot of other people to support his family, while also entertaining and enlightening the general public, how selfish can he be? Heather also made a choice between Brown University and her boyfriend back in Ohio and it is one she is happy with. And isn't having children itself selfish?
    Walter M Super Reviewer

Starting Out in the Evening Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Movie & TV guides