Critics are fond of Starting Out in the Evening, starring Frank Langella as an aging novelist who is sought out by an energetic young grad student. "The picture feels both intimate and immediate, a model for what smart young filmmakers can do with good material," says Stephanie Zacharek in Salon. But critics reserve much of their enthusiasm for Langella's poignant portrayal.
"In a career-crowning performance, Langella plays Schiller with utter vulnerability and lack of vanity," writes Scott Foundas in Variety. Glenn Kenney of Premiere isn't sold on the direction or the premise, but he still has praise for Langella. "His sometimes halting but always beautifully articulated line deliveries impeccably convey a man for whom words are, literally, everything, including a last line of defense," he writes.