Starting Out in the Evening - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Starting Out in the Evening Reviews

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½ August 17, 2015
Another good performance for Frank Langella and Lili Taylor in this tale of an author, once famous, now living his last years in obscurity and trying to write one last good novel.
September 10, 2014
This is the type of movie I generally love, but there's still something missing from it. Langella is very good, as is Ambrose, though I don't think her character as written really comes off the page. Lily Taylor; man, there's just something about her, she has a natural aura of beauty/grace/whatever that the camera is unexpectedly able to pick up, and has been apparent since I first saw her in a film (probably Say Anything). The 2nd half feels like it falls a bit off for some reason.
½ June 25, 2014
Langella's performance is the only reason to watch this movie. His performance was amazing, but the whole story was rather unimpressive.
½ January 24, 2014
Found this a good look at a writer with a mentor to help out interesting. Even with the cliches it worked because of the actors.
January 9, 2014
nice drama,with the spring fall romance
July 6, 2013
This is my second time watching this film, even though I completely forgotten that I had seen it previously. The characters, acting and story overall is very good, but it's just presented in such a controlled and sombre fashion it makes it hard to sustain enjoyable interest to it. It's a subtle film, and I can enjoy subtle films, but this may be too subtle. Still, it is good and watchable.
½ April 27, 2013
find it boring... yeah..there were couple of nice splashes in it.. but in big moves of brush was pretty boring.
January 26, 2013
Best show I've ever seen about the pure artistic process. About authenticity, honesty.
January 4, 2013
Great performance by Langella but the film is too shapeless and mawkish. Ambrose isn't very convincing either.
maxthesax
Super Reviewer
October 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withdraws from life outside of writing, can create characters who function and are relevant in the very life he has withdrawn from.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.
July 29, 2012
Quite an interesting low budget movie, interesting characters unfolding at an unusual good slow pace...
½ June 12, 2012
Too flat for my tastes. Langella is good; Lauren Ambrose, regretablly, is not.
May 31, 2012
A quiet and subtle character piece whose joys are in the details.
½ May 27, 2012
For a movie so much about the demands of the creative process, there are a lot of pedestrian plot points.
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
April 24, 2012
Frank Langella is amazing in the film but I had a hard time staying interested in the story.
½ March 21, 2012
The subject matter and Frank Langella's performance makes this film memorable and worth seeing.
March 11, 2012
Näyttipä vanheneminen hankalalta!
½ February 10, 2012
Caught my attention with its elements: an old writer meeting a young woman who adores his work, writers block, possible conflicts and love affairs. But it just stops there without any deep exploration of the everything it started out very well. I was left uninspired.
January 9, 2012
fans of the film frost/nixon should backtrack a little and check this out. as good as frank langella was in ron howard's oscar nominated film he is that much better here. starting out in the evening is such a beautiful film full of regret - each character longs for better, or at least different. it moves a little slowly but that can be forgiven when the viewer realizes the message conveyed behind it...
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