Starting Out in the Evening (LionsGate)
Frank Langella persuasively plays a reclusive novelist whose outlook on life is jump-started by the appearance of a grad student writing her thesis on his work in this low-key character study. Director Andrew Wagner and writer Fred Parnes are on solid ground as long as they stick to the relationship between the writer and his unmarried daughter (a warm, glowing Lili Taylor). But when the student–competently played by Lauren Ambrose–takes over his life, the filmmakers can’t steer away from standard-issue melodramatic territory. Still, Langella and Taylor make this watchable, if not entirely credible.
EXTRAS: Director commentary.