Starting Out in the Evening


1h 51m 2007

Brief Synopsis

All that remains for Leonard Schiller is to finish the novel he has been laboring on for almost ten years. With his four earlier books out of print, he has learned to starve himself of the desire for the success he was once so close to, though beneath this practice lives a pull for his work to be re

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Adaptation
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
2007
Distribution Company
Roadside Attractions
Location
New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m

Synopsis

All that remains for Leonard Schiller is to finish the novel he has been laboring on for almost ten years. With his four earlier books out of print, he has learned to starve himself of the desire for the success he was once so close to, though beneath this practice lives a pull for his work to be rediscovered. His solitary writer's life is shaken by the arrival of Heather, an ambitious graduate student who persuades him that she can use her thesis to spur a rediscovery of his work. But as her inquiry proceeds, Heather displays a profound personal interest in Leonard, which unsettles him and stirs up his long-dormant need for intimacy. Meanwhile, Leonard's daughter Ariel reconnects with her ex-boyfriend Casey, a man Leonard firmly disapproves of. Leonard's encounters with Heather lead him down an unfamiliar path that threatens his writing, his health, and his relationship to his daughter. But in living out in the open, in the evening of his life Schiller puts into practice the core theme of his novels--life is not designed for our comfort but for our struggle, for in struggle there is growth.

Crew

Jake Abraham

Producer

Ben Albu

Song Performer

Ben Albu

Song

Willy Allen

Adr/Dialogue Editor

Javier Ameijeiras

Art Assistant

Anthony Bayman

Adr

Robert Belt

Song

Paul Berolzheimer

Foley

Patrick Bevilacqua

Set Production Assistant

Alex Biko

Song

Manuel Billeter

Camera Operator

Ted Blaisdell

Music Scoring Mixer

Ted Blaisdell

Score Recording

Tom Blake

Apprentice

Gena Bleier

Editor

Harlan Bosmajian

Dp/Cinematographer

Harlan Bosmajian

Director Of Photography

Steven Briante

Assistant Camera

Claudia Brown

Costume Designer

Brian Bulman

Music Editor

Ian Burbage

Grip

Michael Burke

Photography

Jeff Butcher

Property Master

Adam Caldwell

Casting Assistant

Steve Calitri

Gaffer

Annabel Clark

Photography

Matthew Clark

Photography

Theo Clarke

Song

Linda Cohen

Music Supervisor

Mara Hade Connolly

Production Accountant

Rachel Connors

Script Supervisor

Gracie Cox

Assistant Costume Designer

Neil Danziger

Boom Operator

Sheri Davani

Assistant Director

Larhn Davitt

Best Boy Grip

Kathryn Dean

Unit Production Manager

Olenka Denysenko

Property Master

Kristen Dubberstein

Location Manager

David Dyas

Song Performer

David Dyas

Song

Daniel Ediger

Apprentice

Michael Ferdie

Adr/Dialogue Editor

Sara Ferrence

Production

Jess Fogel

Set Production Assistant

Alex Foster

Assistant Director

Robert Friedman

Foley Artist

Chris Frierson

Apprentice

David Frisk

Editorial Production Assistant

Jimmy Fusil

Film Lab

Keith Gordon

Rigging Grip

M B Gordy

Song

Adam Gorgoni

Music Composer

Adam Gorgoni

Music Producer

Kari Gray

Production

Kari Gray

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Evan Gregg

Assistant Location Manager

Douglas Harmon

Executive Producer

Laura Harper

Art Assistant

Taiwo Heard

Sound

John Hirota

Visual Effects Editor

Nancy Israel

Producer

Scott A Jennings

Supervising Sound Editor

Scott A Jennings

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

Tameca Jones

Song

Eric Kagan

Art Assistant

Michelle Kearns

Makeup

Michelle Kearns

Hair

Jo Kelly

Coordinator

Matt Kerr

Grip

Ashish Kothari

Apprentice

Alex Lamas

Art Assistant

Valeria Maaud

Set Production Assistant

Brent Marley

Song

Lou Massa

Key Grip

Karen Mcgovern

Apprentice

Paul Mckenna

Assistant Camera

Jan Mclaughlin

Sound Mixer

Matthew Mendelson

Grip

Adam Miller

Production Secretary

Tasha Morris

Production

Brian Morton

Source Material

Ali Moussavi

Craft Service

Greg Moyer

Executive Producer

Betty Ann Murphy

Art Assistant

Allen Myerson

Executive Producer

Kory O'donnell

Production Coordinator

Tony Osso

Script Supervisor

Jennifer O¿connor

Song

Jennifer O¿connor

Song Performer

Fred Parnes

Screenplay

Fred Parnes

Producer

Meno Payne

Grip

John Persichetti

Colorist

Michael E. Phillips

Digital Effects Artist

Michael Phillips

Digital Effects Artist

Brett Pierce

Sound Effects Editor

Brett Pierce

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

Matthew Reedy

Set Production Assistant

Emily Reutlinger

Casting Assistant

Sam Rosenberg

Set Production Assistant

Maggie Ross

Apprentice

Patrick T Rousseau

Set Production Assistant

Adam Saunders

Song

Joe Schiff

Sound Effects Editor

Randy Schwartz

Assistant Camera

Tennyson Sebastian

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

Sara Shaw

Post-Production Supervisor

George Sheldon

Electrician

Simon Shen

Best Boy Electric

R Zach Shildwachter

Assistant Director

Linda Slater

Assistant Camera

John Sloss

Executive Producer

Curtis Smith

Assistant Director

Patrick J. Smith

Assistant Editor

Alexis Soto

Production

Ricardo Springer

Apprentice

Stayc St. Onge

Makeup Artist

Stayc St. Onge

Hair Stylist

Julie Stalker-wilde

Boom Operator

Mellow Star

Song Performer

Joanna Stewart

Makeup

Carol Strober

Production Designer

Michael Suarez

Adr

Mandy Tagger-brockey

Coproducer

Andy Thompson

Adr Mixer

Cindy Tolan

Casting Director

Malik A Turner

Rigging Grip

Andrew Wagner

Producer

Andrew Wagner

Screenplay

Robert Walker

Song

Jason White

Song

Robert White

Set Production Assistant

Zoe White

Apprentice

Jerrell Williams

Apprentice

Gary Winick

Producer

Dara Wishingrad

Art Director

David Woolner

Electrician

Norah Workman

Production Assistant

David Wright

Adr

Steven Yap

Set Production Assistant

Chad Yavarow

Apprentice

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Adaptation
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
2007
Distribution Company
Roadside Attractions
Location
New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m

Articles

Starting Out in the Evening - Frank Langella in STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING on DVD


Starting Out In the Evening is a quiet, thoughtful drama about an aging literary figure's involvement with a young graduate student eager to reawaken his career. I suppose it's the fantasy of every aging English professor falling into decrepitude to be "rescued" by a beautiful young thing who understands him. Do they make those women anymore? Back at UCLA in the early 1970s it seemed that few liberal arts professor were lacking an admiring young consort of one kind or another.

Andrew Wagner's film will work depending on whether or not one accepts its shaky central relationship. It's the kind of show in which characters relate to one another in literary terms. Starting Out's strongest asset is the measured performance of Frank Langella as the old writer aware that the clock is running out on his ambitions. The movie has some questionable elements, but Langella gives it gravity and dignity.

Synopsis: In declining health, teacher and novelist Leonard Schiller (Frank Langella) toils over a novel he's been working on for ten years. He's visited by Heather Wolfe (Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under), a Brown student inspired by his earlier books. Leonard resists but is soon spending time with Heather, discussing his career for her graduate thesis. Meanwhile, Heather also does her gentle best to seduce him. A witness to this process is Leonard's daughter Ariel (Lili Taylor), who is working out her relationship with her boyfriend Casey Davis (Adrian Lester). Heather renews hope that Leonard's writing will be rediscovered, but also brings an emotional stress he isn't used to ... and cannot maintain.

Movies about great writers have a major problem. Unable to present Dr. Zhivago's poetry directly, David Lean instead depicts creative genius through images of flowers blooming and snowflakes melting. The pretty pictures still don't convince us that Omar Sharif can write. Starting Out In the Evening makes use of a great deal of high-toned literary discussion, but Frank Langella's authoritative intelligence is what convinces us that he's a great talent. Even when the literary banter wears thin, Langella comes off as the real deal.

To that extent the movie works. We respond to Leonard Schiller's devotion to his art and accept him as a writer whose writing evolved as he aged, from his spirited early books to less accessible 'mature' works later on. Accepting Leonard's eager young disciple Heather Wolfe is less easy. We're meant to think that Heather Wolfe is a true intellectual drawn to Leonard's great prose, and that her admiration is mature and profound. She's from Brown, after all, and despite the fact that she seems to have no contact whatsoever with the Providence campus, she talks a sharp line of literary criticism.

Or does she? Starting Out In the Evening's picture of the hoity-toity New York world of writing isn't a very pretty one. With all of his books out of print, Leonard must abase himself before a publishing executive to raise some interest in his new work. Heather comes on to Leonard as a wide-eyed idealist, but she knows instinctively how to work a room and pique the interest of a connected magazine editor (Jessica Hecht). When these young critics aren't savaging writers with withering opinions, they're challenging each other with 'civilized' jabs. The editor defends her position in commercial publishing but has no problem alluding to Leonard in a demeaning sexual context. To her Leonard is a fossil, an "old white guy who goes to bed early."

Heather exploits Leonard's age in much the same way, offering herself as a bon-bon under the illusion that her sexual spark will revive his writing spirit. Heather also sees it as her privilege to psychoanalyze Leonard. The hook for her thesis paper is that the life went out of Leonard's writing years ago when his wife left him. Although he objects, Heather gets away with jamming Leonard into a snug literary pigeonhole: he allows her to define his life.

After all of this supposed profundity, the solution to the riddle of Leonard Schiller turns out to be something Barbara Walters would harp on. Heather is a hungry bundle of ambition feeding off an easily controlled old man, not even realizing that she's a user.

One thing Starting Out In the Evening gets right is the actual sex relationship between Heather and Leonard. Part of the presumed thrill of May-December romances comes from the rejuvenation fantasy of seeing the dried-up old coot spring to sexual life. It's usually a male film star past his prime but not yet in his dotage, a bona fide dreamboat like Michael Caine or William Holden who, if he wanted to, could really show Little Trixie how it's done. Leonard Schiller is a different case. He knows he already has one foot in the grave, and acts accordingly. He moves slowly and feels everything intensely. We get the idea that Leonard is remembering intimacy, not celebrating a centennial jubilee. Anything like exertion would finish him off. If this were a thriller, Heather would be pushing a life insurance policy under his nose.

What exactly are we to make of the redheaded Heather, the adventurous young necrophile? Heather's into self-advancement, not sex, and surely thinks of herself as a glorious physical muse to the great man whose life will provide the springboard for her career. Leonard objects only when Heather patronizes him with assurances that his new book will be his best. Her 'encouraging' words earn her a fast slap. After having his career autopsied by this woman, Leonard knows that his new novel has gone in the wrong direction. He may have next to no time left, but he's ready to start again.

That's one interpretation of Starting Out In the Evening; I'd be ready to reconsider it if either Andrew Wagner's direction or Lauren Ambrose's performance suggested that Heather was greater than the sum of her slick author-talk, or anything less than a career leech. Ms. Ambrose has a pair of moles on her left cheek that in long shots look like tears. But they aren't, and they remind us that Heather maintains her composure no matter what happens to Leonard, whose true function is to provide a foundation for her career as a critic.

Lili Taylor is the "alive" alternative to Heather, an unambitious woman who wants nothing to do with cocktail dresses or the refined Manhattan chit-chat that goes with them. Ariel's a yoga instructor who breaks off a promising relationship with a lawyer (Michael Cumpsty) because it doesn't feel right. That's because she knows she's really in love with Casey, a less perfect guy who won't commit to the idea of having children. Ariel is interesting, but still comes off as a dramatic construction, a sidebar commenting on her father's earlier inability to commit to instinctual choices. Her boyfriend Casey earns our respect by helping the old man through a rough and humiliating day -- ironically proving himself a "good parent", etc.

Starting Out In the Evening is filmed in a consistent autumnal glow conducive to its theme. The low budget film looks handsome and attractive throughout. Concern for the Leonard Schiller character keeps our interest at a high level, even as we feel that the movie wrongly accepts Heather Wolfe at face value. Heather's love for Leonard may be sincere. But anyone with life experience in academia will immediately recognize the type; Schiller must have met at least one of these goo-goo eyed nymphs every semester. Starting Out In the Evening doesn't even seem to be aware of the phenomenon. Frank Langella's marvelous Leonard carries the day.

Lionsgate's Starting Out In the Evening disc is a fine rendering of this box office non-starter that attracted many admiring notices. The enhanced transfer is sharp and attractive; the fact that the film was shot on HD video is nigh undetectable. The show comes with a TV spot, a trailer and a commentary by its director Andrew Wagner. The smooth-voiced Wagner uses much of his commentary to analyze the story and its meanings. All well and good, but his movie already speaks very well for itself. If Wagner breaks it down so neatly now, what will he leave for a graduate student to uncover when he's an elderly auteur looking for a comeback?

For more information about Starting Out in the Evening, visit Lionsgate. To order Starting Out in the Evening, go to TCM Shopping

by Glenn Erickson
Starting Out In The Evening - Frank Langella In Starting Out In The Evening On Dvd

Starting Out in the Evening - Frank Langella in STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING on DVD

Starting Out In the Evening is a quiet, thoughtful drama about an aging literary figure's involvement with a young graduate student eager to reawaken his career. I suppose it's the fantasy of every aging English professor falling into decrepitude to be "rescued" by a beautiful young thing who understands him. Do they make those women anymore? Back at UCLA in the early 1970s it seemed that few liberal arts professor were lacking an admiring young consort of one kind or another. Andrew Wagner's film will work depending on whether or not one accepts its shaky central relationship. It's the kind of show in which characters relate to one another in literary terms. Starting Out's strongest asset is the measured performance of Frank Langella as the old writer aware that the clock is running out on his ambitions. The movie has some questionable elements, but Langella gives it gravity and dignity. Synopsis: In declining health, teacher and novelist Leonard Schiller (Frank Langella) toils over a novel he's been working on for ten years. He's visited by Heather Wolfe (Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under), a Brown student inspired by his earlier books. Leonard resists but is soon spending time with Heather, discussing his career for her graduate thesis. Meanwhile, Heather also does her gentle best to seduce him. A witness to this process is Leonard's daughter Ariel (Lili Taylor), who is working out her relationship with her boyfriend Casey Davis (Adrian Lester). Heather renews hope that Leonard's writing will be rediscovered, but also brings an emotional stress he isn't used to ... and cannot maintain. Movies about great writers have a major problem. Unable to present Dr. Zhivago's poetry directly, David Lean instead depicts creative genius through images of flowers blooming and snowflakes melting. The pretty pictures still don't convince us that Omar Sharif can write. Starting Out In the Evening makes use of a great deal of high-toned literary discussion, but Frank Langella's authoritative intelligence is what convinces us that he's a great talent. Even when the literary banter wears thin, Langella comes off as the real deal. To that extent the movie works. We respond to Leonard Schiller's devotion to his art and accept him as a writer whose writing evolved as he aged, from his spirited early books to less accessible 'mature' works later on. Accepting Leonard's eager young disciple Heather Wolfe is less easy. We're meant to think that Heather Wolfe is a true intellectual drawn to Leonard's great prose, and that her admiration is mature and profound. She's from Brown, after all, and despite the fact that she seems to have no contact whatsoever with the Providence campus, she talks a sharp line of literary criticism. Or does she? Starting Out In the Evening's picture of the hoity-toity New York world of writing isn't a very pretty one. With all of his books out of print, Leonard must abase himself before a publishing executive to raise some interest in his new work. Heather comes on to Leonard as a wide-eyed idealist, but she knows instinctively how to work a room and pique the interest of a connected magazine editor (Jessica Hecht). When these young critics aren't savaging writers with withering opinions, they're challenging each other with 'civilized' jabs. The editor defends her position in commercial publishing but has no problem alluding to Leonard in a demeaning sexual context. To her Leonard is a fossil, an "old white guy who goes to bed early." Heather exploits Leonard's age in much the same way, offering herself as a bon-bon under the illusion that her sexual spark will revive his writing spirit. Heather also sees it as her privilege to psychoanalyze Leonard. The hook for her thesis paper is that the life went out of Leonard's writing years ago when his wife left him. Although he objects, Heather gets away with jamming Leonard into a snug literary pigeonhole: he allows her to define his life. After all of this supposed profundity, the solution to the riddle of Leonard Schiller turns out to be something Barbara Walters would harp on. Heather is a hungry bundle of ambition feeding off an easily controlled old man, not even realizing that she's a user. One thing Starting Out In the Evening gets right is the actual sex relationship between Heather and Leonard. Part of the presumed thrill of May-December romances comes from the rejuvenation fantasy of seeing the dried-up old coot spring to sexual life. It's usually a male film star past his prime but not yet in his dotage, a bona fide dreamboat like Michael Caine or William Holden who, if he wanted to, could really show Little Trixie how it's done. Leonard Schiller is a different case. He knows he already has one foot in the grave, and acts accordingly. He moves slowly and feels everything intensely. We get the idea that Leonard is remembering intimacy, not celebrating a centennial jubilee. Anything like exertion would finish him off. If this were a thriller, Heather would be pushing a life insurance policy under his nose. What exactly are we to make of the redheaded Heather, the adventurous young necrophile? Heather's into self-advancement, not sex, and surely thinks of herself as a glorious physical muse to the great man whose life will provide the springboard for her career. Leonard objects only when Heather patronizes him with assurances that his new book will be his best. Her 'encouraging' words earn her a fast slap. After having his career autopsied by this woman, Leonard knows that his new novel has gone in the wrong direction. He may have next to no time left, but he's ready to start again. That's one interpretation of Starting Out In the Evening; I'd be ready to reconsider it if either Andrew Wagner's direction or Lauren Ambrose's performance suggested that Heather was greater than the sum of her slick author-talk, or anything less than a career leech. Ms. Ambrose has a pair of moles on her left cheek that in long shots look like tears. But they aren't, and they remind us that Heather maintains her composure no matter what happens to Leonard, whose true function is to provide a foundation for her career as a critic. Lili Taylor is the "alive" alternative to Heather, an unambitious woman who wants nothing to do with cocktail dresses or the refined Manhattan chit-chat that goes with them. Ariel's a yoga instructor who breaks off a promising relationship with a lawyer (Michael Cumpsty) because it doesn't feel right. That's because she knows she's really in love with Casey, a less perfect guy who won't commit to the idea of having children. Ariel is interesting, but still comes off as a dramatic construction, a sidebar commenting on her father's earlier inability to commit to instinctual choices. Her boyfriend Casey earns our respect by helping the old man through a rough and humiliating day -- ironically proving himself a "good parent", etc. Starting Out In the Evening is filmed in a consistent autumnal glow conducive to its theme. The low budget film looks handsome and attractive throughout. Concern for the Leonard Schiller character keeps our interest at a high level, even as we feel that the movie wrongly accepts Heather Wolfe at face value. Heather's love for Leonard may be sincere. But anyone with life experience in academia will immediately recognize the type; Schiller must have met at least one of these goo-goo eyed nymphs every semester. Starting Out In the Evening doesn't even seem to be aware of the phenomenon. Frank Langella's marvelous Leonard carries the day. Lionsgate's Starting Out In the Evening disc is a fine rendering of this box office non-starter that attracted many admiring notices. The enhanced transfer is sharp and attractive; the fact that the film was shot on HD video is nigh undetectable. The show comes with a TV spot, a trailer and a commentary by its director Andrew Wagner. The smooth-voiced Wagner uses much of his commentary to analyze the story and its meanings. All well and good, but his movie already speaks very well for itself. If Wagner breaks it down so neatly now, what will he leave for a graduate student to uncover when he's an elderly auteur looking for a comeback? For more information about Starting Out in the Evening, visit Lionsgate. To order Starting Out in the Evening, go to TCM Shopping by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the 2007 award for Best Actor (Frank Langella) by the Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC).

Released in United States Fall November 23, 2007

Released in United States January 2007

Released in United States October 2007

Released in United States on Video April 22, 2008

Released in United States September 2007

Shown at Hamptons International Film Festival (Spotlight) October 17-21, 2007.

Shown at Sundance Film Festival (Dramatic Competition) January 18-28, 2007.

Shown at Toronto International Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema) September 6-15, 2007.

Based on the novel "Starting Out in the Evening" written by Brian Morton, published by Berkley Publishing Group in July 1999.

Released in United States January 2007 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (Dramatic Competition) January 18-28, 2007.)

Released in United States on Video April 22, 2008

Released in United States September 2007 (Shown at Toronto International Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema) September 6-15, 2007.)

Released in United States October 2007 (Shown at Hamptons International Film Festival (Spotlight) October 17-21, 2007.)

Released in United States Fall November 23, 2007