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Starting Out in the Evening (2008)

Frank Langella , Lauren Ambrose , Andrew Wagner  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Langella, Lauren Ambrose, Patti Perkins, Lili Taylor, Adrian Lester
  • Directors: Andrew Wagner
  • Writers: Andrew Wagner, Fred Parnes, Brian Morton
  • Producers: Andrew Wagner, Allen Meyerson, Douglas Harmon, Fred Parnes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013AVNOS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,132 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Starting Out in the Evening" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Battling illness and unable to finish a novel that has taken him ten years to write, aging novelist Leonard Schiller is slipping into literary obscurity. Formerly a famous author, Schiller has been all but forgotten by the readers, colleagues and critics who once praised him. But when Heather Wolfe, an ambitious graduate student, convinces Schiller that her thesis could reintroduce his writing to the world, the reclusive writer is forced to confront his past regrets. Frank Langella delivers a career-capping performance as a man who must redefine his work - and his perceptions - in the twilight of his life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'The madness of art' April 27, 2008
STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING is a quietly moving work of art, a film adapted from Brian Morton's novel by screenwriters Fred Parnes and and Andrew Wagner (who also directs) that dares to take us to the wall with decisions we make about how we conduct our lives and negotiate the changes that can either be stumbling blocks or stimuli for creative awareness, It has much to say about the creative process of writing, a theme upon which it first appears to be based, but it more importantly urges us to examine how we live - how we make use of this moment of time in which we inhabit a body in the universe.

Leonard Schiller (in an extraordinarily understated performance by Frank Langella) is an aging author, a man whose first two novels seem to set the literary world on fire, but whose next two novels languished on the shelves and slipped into the same plane of obscurity Schiller finds his life since the death of his wife. He has a daughter Ariel (Lili Taylor in another richly hued performance) who is nearing age forty and is unable to bond permanently with a man because of her obsession with having children before her biological clock ticks past fertility. Into their lives comes Heather Wolfe (Lauren Ambrose), a bright young graduate student who has elected to write her master's thesis on the works of Leonard Schiller. Schiller is absorbed in writing what may be his last novel and can't be bothered with Heather's plea for a series of interviews. But curiosity intervenes and soon Heather and Leonard are involved in the process of interviewing, a process which gradually builds into overtones of Heather's physical as well as intellectual attraction to Leonard.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Gem December 21, 2007
Let me state at the outset that this review concerns the theatrical release only. I have not read the book nor read any of the reviews for it. I caught this film just before it disappeared after a brief run at my local art cinema. Frank Langella deserves an Oscar nomination for his supremely restrained portrayal of a buttoned-up recluse, an emotionally remote retired professor and novelist, who has been working for years on what may well be his final novel, if he can ever finish it. It is not the first time this great actor has played a writer - for a spectacular contrast see his performance as the womanizing solipsist in `Diary of a Mad Housewife.' Here he is seduced by a flirtatiously manipulative grad student (Lauren Ambrose) into allowing her to enter his largely solitary life for the purpose of a series of increasingly pointed interviews that will help her complete the ambitious thesis she is writing about his work. So great is her apparent admiration for her `sad knight' that one wonders whether she is totally sincere, or deluding herself about him, as he may indeed be about both himself and her. But she is so flattering, intelligent, and attractive, and he is so kindly generous, that he cannot manage to oppose her when she persists. The ingredients at this point would make for a pretty good drama. Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Me Wanna Grab A Book...In A Good Way February 4, 2009
Wow! What an outstanding bit of drama we've got here. STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING does such a fabulous job in using the medium of film to discuss and explore the medium of writing that I will never dismiss the craftsmanship it takes to compose a single book. This is a story that takes the ambitions of several characters, weaves them together in convincing fashion, and subtly sways into another realm of thinking. Does this intrigue you? Well, in case it doesn't, let me describe the first scene of the film to you.

A young woman sits in a small diner, waiting to meet the subject of her thesis. Heather Wolfe and Leonard Schiller sit together. Leonard almost immediately thanks her for her admiration of his work as a writer, but quickly dismisses her interest because he can't be bothered while he works on another book in his old age. The beautiful interviewer reluctantly agrees to his wishes, but only after being allowed to see his home, and borrow a few copies of his out-of-print books. Just before leaving his home, Heather suddenly kisses Leonard. It is not sexual, but a rather strange gesture of admiration. While the two are meeting this way, Leonard's hurried daughter Ariel is qickly dropping in and out of Leonard's apartment.

Once Heather and Ariel leave together, we are unsettled and riddled with questions. "Did that just happen?" Or better yet, "How exactly did that happen?" You will want to explore these questions for perhaps the same reason that Heather & Leonard continue the interview process together. They are fascinated by each other's point-of-view in writing; we are stunned by the subdued performances of Lauren Ambrose and Frank Langella, two of the best of their respective generations.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully contemplative film that evolves at a pace like natural...
A beautifully contemplative film that evolves at a pace like natural breathing. It captures the interiors of the Upper West Side of New York with the intimacy they contain in... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Susan M von Abele
4.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, gentle, and thought provoking.........
I wish there were more quiet, gentle, and thought provoking movies like this. Frank Langella does an outstanding job portraying Leonard Schiller, a retired professor and novelist... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jeffery D Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Starting Out in the Evening is a quietly stirring film.
Frank Langella is as quietly brilliant in this moving film as I expected. Excellent supporting performances by Lauren Ambrose and the supporting cast as well.
Published 3 months ago by Terri DelCampo
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films I've seen in years--a subtle multilayered study...
One of the best films I've seen in years--a subtle multilayered study of the regrets that attend aging, and the acceptances that must be embraced. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Starr Morrow
3.0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been So Much Better
As so many other reviewers have commented here, Frank Langella is very good in this film but otherwise, it wasn't great. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Geraldine
5.0 out of 5 stars Langella is awesome
Frank Langella is a great actor who has not received the acclaim which he deserves -- perhaps because he has mainly focused on theater. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kay
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!! Fantastic!!!
I love Frank Langella and this was the first time I ever saw this film. The adjectives to describe this film are endless. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Alanna
5.0 out of 5 stars Anything Frank Langella is in I'll watch
He's one of my favorite under rated actors. I was so pleased he was nominated for Academy Award. This is just a nice little story, nothing thrilling but good storyline and his... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Val
5.0 out of 5 stars Starting Out In The Evening dvd
Quality perfect picture. Received it on time. supurbEasily opened. Of course the movie was great. Frank Langella superb as per usual.
Published 20 months ago by Arline Laurentino
1.0 out of 5 stars Writing written rote
Starting Out in the Evening is slow going. Read the previous reviews to recap the story. I found it sullen, slow dramatically, and despite good acting from Langella and most of... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
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Topic From this Discussion
Starting Out in the Evening - Movie
Leonard realizes that he is too old and weak to continue this type of relationship. She has served her purpose.
Apr 30, 2008 by B. L. Battista |  See all 4 posts
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