Starting Out in the Evening
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2

Frank Langella, Lauren Ambrose, Lili Taylor, Adrian Lester. Drama. Written by Fred Parnes, Andrew Wagner. Directed by Andrew Wagner.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A young post graduate, taken with a once renown writer, sets out to write a thesis about the intellectual and his work. Soon she forms a romantic attachment to the elderly man, who is flattered by the attention, yet cautious about such an arrangement. The writer is already dealing with several problems. He is frustrated with an inability to finish his latest novel or to find a publisher still interested in his style. He is also concerned about his daughter Ariel, a 39-year-old woman who is struggling with failed romance and the desire to have a baby. On top of that, the author is dying.

PREVIEW REVIEW: It is a thoughtful, revealing look at intellectual New York life, with the main characters examining good work and thoughtful ideas, but alas, without much regard for spiritual matters. Solid performances, especially from Mr. Langella, and contemplative dialogue make for interesting viewing for those more pleasured by wit and revelation in movies than by things that go boom. But though fascinated by characters who are moved by great literature, and pleased that their intricate conversations are devoid of crude or profane language, still, I found the characters shallow and the production aimless. This is not a snipe at the performers or the filmmakers intent. But while the film concerns a man facing his own mortality and this is a tale of people seeking peace and purpose, God is never a part of the equation. Can people who spend so much time examining the world around them really be completely impassive about spiritual matters? These folks are.

True, there probably are some who dismiss the possibility of God while facing death, but this film refuses to even acknowledge Him. Like a puzzle missing a key piece, I found the ending incomplete and frustrating. For me, it wasnt a film that concluded with people finding redemption, but ultimately, missing it.

DVD Alternative: Places in the Heart. A literate script presents a determined widow (Sally Field) bent on saving her farm during the '30s Depression. Contains perhaps the greatest ending to a film this buff has ever seen. A repentant adulterer is finally forgiven, when his wife, moved by the pastor's sermon, takes her husband's hand during the service, signifying the restoring of a relationship through Christ's love. Just as we put our hankies away after that moving moment, another symbolic healing occurs. I won't give that one away. Trust me, it's powerful! Rated PG (some mild language, implied adulterous affair but it furthers the story and it is not explicit).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Roadside Attractions

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Three uses of the f-word, both by the younger women in the story.
Profanity: None
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Several sexual situations, indicating the characters do not reserve the intimate act for marriage. Thats not meant as a judgment call, but rather an observation of the times we live in. The sexual situations are not graphic or accompanying by nudity. They are photographed with style and reserve.
Nudity: Brief backside of an elderly man as he is helped from a bathtub.
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some social drinking.
Other: None
Running Time: 111 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)