Last Updated: November 20, 2007By

(BY ALI NADERZAD) No matter youth’s fleeting triumphs and the admiration bestowed on it, age and experience conceal things that are just as attention-worthy. That is what a female graduate student (played by Lauren Ambrose) has set upon discovering in Andrew Wagner’s Starting out in the Evening. Frank Langella plays Leonard Schiller, a Manhattan writer whose novel is taking an awful long time to conclude. He is contacted by Heather, who is writing her graduate thesis about him. Ambrose, who recently was part of the cast of HBO’s Six Feet Under, is perfect as a vivacious bookworm who whiles away her time in the back of cafes (or with her interview subject) instead of pursuing flesh-and-blood versions of her literary heroes. As a liaison develops between Heather and her thesis subject, Schiller’s relationship with his daughter (played by Lily Taylor) threatens to unravel itself over a major disagreement. Lily Taylor plays the overachieving daughter who feels guilt over her father’s lonely existence. She does not take well to the prospect of a woman, younger than she, lording over her father’s life. Conceit, at least in a mild form, plays an important part of character development. It’s a veiled conceit, the kind that is couched in self-imposed solitude: writing, researching for a thesis or teaching (Ariel Schiller, played by Lily Taylor, is a yoga teacher). It’s this which sets Heather in her pursuit of Leonard as we ultimately discover. A magnetic performance by Frank Langella as well as the screenplay, with its dense literary content make Starting Out In the Evening a THREE STAR movie.

make Starting Out In the Evening a THREE STAR movie. Starting out in The Evening opens in theatres this Friday.

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