Starting Out in the Evening

Frank Langella has won a slew of awards for his stage work, including a Tony this year for playing Tricky Dick in Frost/Nixon. But on film, most recently in Good Night, and Good Luck, Langella flies under the Academy radar. Wake up, voters. In Starting Out in the Evening, adapted from Brian Morton's novel by director Andrew Wagner, Langella delivers a master class in acting. He's playing Leonard Schiller, an aging author aching from the loss of his wife, a weak heart and literary neglect. So when firebrand grad student Heather Wolfe (a wondrous Lauren Ambrose) calls for an interview, Leonard is reluctantly reawakened to his talent and sexuality. How the two merge is the haunting business of Wagner's remarkable film, indelibly marked by Langella's deeply felt portrait of a lion in winter.

From The Archives Issue 399: July 7, 1983