6.3/10
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24 user 117 critic

Listen Up Philip (2014)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 21 October 2014 (USA)
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Anger rages in Philip as he awaits the publication of his second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his ... See full summary »

Director:

Alex Ross Perry

Writer:

Alex Ross Perry
2 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Schwartzman ... Philip Lewis Friedman
Elisabeth Moss ... Ashley Kane
Krysten Ritter ... Melanie Zimmerman
Joséphine de La Baume ... Yvette Dussart
Jonathan Pryce ... Ike Zimmerman
Jess Weixler ... Holly Kane
Dree Hemingway ... Emily
Keith Poulson ... Josh Fawn
Kate Lyn Sheil ... Nancy
Yusef Bulos ... Norm
Maïté Alina ... Clare (as Mäité Alina)
Daniel London ... Seth
Samantha Jacober ... Mona
Lee Wilkof ... Uncle Jonathan
Joanne Tucker ... Eve
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Storyline

Anger rages in Philip as he awaits the publication of his second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley, and his own indifference to promoting the novel. When Philip's idol Ike Zimmerman offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject: himself. Written by Production

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Greece

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

21 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Analizando a Philip See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,284, 19 October 2014

Gross USA:

$200,126

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$214,344
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character Ike is inspired by the author Philip Roth. See more »

Quotes

Ike Zimmerman: You'll need a country retreat if you want to get anything done.
See more »

Connections

References Fire Down Below (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

I Hear a Symphony
Performed by Diana Ross & The Supremes
Written by Eddie Holland (as Edward Holland Jr), Lamont Dozier, & Brian Holland
Published by Stone Agate Music
Courtesy of Motown Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A strong cast delivers better drama than laughs in a field of tired clichés.
8 October 2014 | by Sergeant_TibbsSee all my reviews

The story of the struggling writer is not unknown to Jason Schwartzman. He lead the brilliant but oh-so-short HBO show Bored To Death, about a writer who has to turn to detective work for inspiration and cash on the side. It was fresh, because that was just a framing device for something more fun. Listen Up Philip uses struggling to write as the backdrop to cynical drama and sour "I told you so's." If the walls could talk, they would gossip about the fights that have taken place over the years. It opens with a sequence in which Schwartzman's Philip celebrates finishing his second book by rubbing it in the noses of those who didn't believe in him. That's where he gets his satisfaction.

That's the bitter world of Listen Up Philip. Every character is selfish, and miserable for it. The result is a film that's difficult to sympathize with the characters, especially Schwartzman, but it doesn't necessarily ask us to. They may be self-pitying victims of their own hostility, but they eventually do come to self-realizing conclusions, if too late. The film suggests that to make great art (in the form of novels) it requires isolation, cut off from the city and the ones you love, alienating them – as if this is the only way. The jerky behaviour aside, not just general standoffishness but frequent overlapping of relationships, it begs the obvious question of "is it worth it?" Well, no, it's not. Perhaps there are many creatives in the world that need this lesson, either way writer/director Alex Ross Perry is keen to explore it and take us with it.

With a less familiar cast, this would definitely be labeled a mumblecore film. It borrows a French New Wave aesthetic (complete with a jazzy score) featuring rugged and dark hand-held 16mm photography. It can be a little sloppy with a lack of restraint, having some sequences comprised entirely out of dizzying close-ups. It does however add important weight to the drama and fortunately grow more confident by the second half of the film. This style is inherently intimate, if not necessarily engaging, and we feel like voyeurs. In turn, the humour of the film just doesn't work. It didn't elicit a laugh from me, only a smirk. It's not necessarily cringe-worthy, it's just the offbeat nature of it doesn't land in this environment, despite its 'Laugh' categorization at this festival.

It's the ensemble that gives the drama the atmosphere the film needs. The script is otherwise serviceable, with a couple of idiosyncratic if indulgent licks scattered throughout. Instead it's more interested on being on the verge of tears. Elizabeth Moss is the undeniable highlight. She's always been fascinating to watch on AMC's Mad Men, and here she shows the ferocity and vulnerability that makes Peggy compelling. Her character may feel extraneous, but her presence is most welcome. Also great, but on a lesser scale, is Jonathan Pryce, who teeters fine lines with skill and makes a character that could've otherwise been trite (aka the cautionary vision of the future for Philip) believable and endearing. However, the film often seems too aimless with no end game in sight. It feels more organic, but it's missed potential.

In the second half, the narrative bounces through the three characters, a little clumsily, but it's better for exploring the characters with a bit more depth than it could have missed with a straightforward approach. The style is a little free form, which can feel quite liberating, but mostly hints at a lack of discipline in Perry. Even with the film's rawness, it does feature touches of Wes Anderson with a Tenenbaums-esque articulate and omniscient narration – one that only barely justifies itself – as well as insert shots of books inscribed with in- jokes. Maybe the involvement of Schwartzman just attracts that unique style, although here it's rarely connected to him. The cast saves Listen Up Philip from being a complete chore but it still suffers from unsympathetic characters and tired clichés. Save the struggling writer scripts for the exercise pile, please.

6/10

Read more @ The Awards Circuit (http://www.awardscircuit.com/)


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