New York city’s Upper West Side really should get the top billing in Saturday’s Martha’s Vineyard Film Society presentation, but the main character in this film, Starting Out in the Evening, is an ageing writer superbly played by character actor Frank Langella.
Author Leonard Schiller is a man who feels as obsolete as the typewriter he uses. Though he has four novels to his credit, he has been working on his fifth for a decade.
Enter Heather Wolfe (played by Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose), a graduate student who plans to write her thesis on Schiller’s work. She cajoles the reluctant man into helping her, and they begin a curious friendship.
The 2007 film, based on the novel by Brian Morton, is also a story about the creative writing process, with lively debates about art and commerce, literary criticism, and how an author’s personal life informs his work. David Denby in The New Yorker called Langella superb.
Starting Out in the Evening screens on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Katharine Cornell Theatre on Spring street in Vineyard Haven. It runs 111 minutes and is rated PG-13.
Admission is $8, or $5 for film society members.