Who's in It:
Frank Langella, Lauren Ambrose, Lili Taylor, Adrian Lester
The Basics: An ambitious graduate student (Ambrose) becomes involved with the old-school literary lion (Langella) she's writing about. Meanwhile, the now elderly author and professor, in poor health and concerned about his middle-aged but aimless daughter (Taylor), is also struggling to finish a novel he started 10 years earlier. Even though no one's beating down his door to publish it.
What's the Deal? Hey, grown-ups, this one's for you. It's set in a wintry New York literary world, and books are one of its main sources of character dialogue. It's intelligent, quiet, moody and gentle, the kind of movie that winds up in theaters about three times a year; best of all, its central relationship it's only somewhat romantic between a stolid older man and a climbing young woman doesn't fall down the stupid hole of clichés.
Prevailing Mood: Understatement (not counting the part at the beginning where Ambrose snoops around Langella's study and caresses his typewriter).
Why It Bummed Me Out a Little: I can count on one hand the number of movies I've seen Taylor and Langella in lately. In fact, I don't even need all my fingers on that one hand. But it takes both of them to add up all the times I've spent looking at movies featuring Dane Cook and Jon Heder and Jessica Alba. So watching this was like enjoying a really nice meal, knowing that you have to eat at McDonalds three times a day for the rest of the week. My pain! Feel it!
Smarty-Pants Literary References: There are several, so it would behoove you to have to read a book or two in your life before seeing it. In fact, the movie's bold enough to have its main characters discuss R.K. Narayan for a minute or so, one of them holding up the novel The English Teacher, and let you just either get or not get that the teacher of that novel's title sort of alludes to the aging professor's own circumstances.