Starting Out in the Evening director Andrew Wagner depicts the relationship between novelist Leonard Schiller (Frank Langella) with an admiring student (Lauren Ambrose) and his wayward daughter (Lili Taylor) “with some delicacy — perhaps too much delicacy,” writes New Yorker critic David Denby. Someone who was vaguely irritated with this film….finally!
“Schiller is meant to be a survivor of the New York Jewish literary renaissance of the 1950s and 60s, but the movie, for all its considerable intelligence, dries out his temperament too much. Anyone who remembers that vanished tribe of New Yorkers knows that, even in their later years, they made a joke now and then and were given to malice and desire as well as to bouts of intellectual severity.
“After a while, Schiller√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s austere ironies wilt one√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s respect for him. Langella is superb, and Starting Out in the Evening is a classy film — I never thought I would hear the phrase ‘Trilling, Howe, and especially Edmund Wilson’ uttered in a movie theatre — but it could have used a little less circumspection, a little more juice.”