Posted on Sunday, January 28th, 2007 by Peter Sciretta
Andrew Wagner was at Sundance two years ago with his break-out film The Talent Given to Us. In his emotional introduction to Starting Out, he explained how he sat in the huge Eccles theater wishing to someday have a film of his own on the gigantic big screen. He couldn’t get anymore words out, he just tried to hold the tears back, for like two minutes. It was the most emotional Sundance moment I’ve seen in a while.
Wagner’s new film Starting Out in the Evening follows a grad student played by Lauren Ambrose who is writing her thesis on Leonard Schiller, a once great but now forgotten OOP author played by Frank Langella. At first Schiller doesn’t want any part of the report but eventually agrees to a series of interviews. Heather is in love with Schiller or at least the idea of him. A relationship develops which may shape both their future’s.
An interesting but sometimes slow character study/relationship piece, Starting Out in the Evening will hopefully find an audience on home video and cable television.
Ambrose is wonderfully relatable. Her enthusiasm glows off the screen and into the audience. Now that Six Feet Under is over with it will be nice to see her in some more dramatic roles. We already know she’s more than capable to become the next big big tv to film crossover actress.
/Film Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Starring: Frank Langella, Lauren Ambrose, and Lili Taylor
Directed by: Andrew Wagner
Written by: Andrew Wagner, Fred Parnes, based on the novel by Brian Morton