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Robert J. Siegel
Against the backdrop of Manhattan's changing literary and publishing world, aging novelist Leonard Schiller is asked by Heather Wolfe, a graduate student and budding literary critic, to agree to interviews. He's reluctant to spend the time: his health is failing and he wants to finish one more book. Also he's worried about his daughter, Ariel, who's approaching 40, underemployed, single and wanting a child. But he agrees, hoping Heather can help resurrect interest in his work. As Heather probes Frank's writing and his past, Ariel reconnects to a former lover. Emotions can be raw and messy, and as relationships change, who gets the better part of the bargain? Written by
Stu Richel played the husband of Jill Eikenberry in a scene with her former lover, played by Frank Langella. The Jill-Frank relationship was thought not to be "central to the spine of the story" and was dropped in the final cut. See more »
While Heather drinks orange juice with Leonard, the amount of orange juice in her glass changes several times, and her bangs switch back and forth between disorderly and parted neatly in the middle. See more »
Freedom isn't the choice the world encourages. You have to wear a suit of armor to defend it.
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Unlike many movies, I found myself continually wanting to know what happens next. I was not watching a movie, so much as seeing the writing process examined, explored, and enacted on the screen. The director doesn't mind taking his time to allow events to develop and unfold, and he takes us along with him. Music is used sparingly and effectively - he has faith in his actors and his material. The attention to detail was wonderful - Leonard Schiller wearing shirts and ties many many years old, using spoons and tea cups from another era, sitting on a couch from the 40's, reading by lamps with pleated shades, walls and cupboards painted many times over, using a typewriter (hearing the clack clack of the keys was music), contrasted by Heather's tic tic on her laptop, her messy bed in the background, typing by a stylish modern lamp. Lauren Ambrose was the perfect counterpoint to Frank Langella, and the subplot with Lili Taylor as Ariel Schiller and Adrian Lester was touching and effective. At all times, the actors were perfect. They should all win Oscars, but they won't. Please don't be fooled by the paltry box office take of $600,000 - this movie is worthy of box office 100 times what it took in.
Anyone with a love of writing, good acting, and wonderful direction should see this movie. Even having Schilling's body begin to fail him rings true, and is not played for pathos.
All in all, one of the most enjoyable movie experiences of 2007.
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