An intelligent film, based on the novel by Brian Morton, Starting Out in the Evening manages the difficult feat of focusing on the life of a writer without being dull. It helps that the movie stars three great actors – Frank Langella, Lili Taylor and Lauren Ambrose – and that the screenplay, by Fred Parnes and Andrew Wagner, gives them meaty scenes to chew on.

A simple story of an aging novelist, his daughter and a hungry graduate student determined to get him to collaborate with her on her thesis, Starting Out in the Evening lets small moments and interactions pull the story along, while maintaining a considerable amount of tension between the characters. The director, Wagner, and the actors somehow manage to make the process look effortless while quietly breaking your heart.

Grade: A

Starting Out in the Evening is currently available.