Directed by Alex Ross Perry. Starring Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter, Josephine de La Baune, Jess Weixler, Dree Hemingway, Keith Poulson.
THE PLOT: It’s not easy being an incredible writer – amen to that, brother! – and for Philip Lewis Friedman, the heaviest price is having to deal with people who just don’t believe that he’s an incredible writer. Who needs space. And love. And no one else. It’s something his girlfriend, Ashley (Moss), clearly doesn’t understand, and so, when Philip is given the chance to stay with noted writer Ike Zimmerman (Price) in his country retreat, he jumps at the chance. But will that finally make Philip centred, content and productive? Will it feck…
THE VERDICT: Written and directed by the multi-talented young Alex Ross Perry (who also acts, produces, etc agus etc), LISTEN UP PHILIP is a sweet swipe at creative types. And it will no doubt be loved and adored by creative types. The very thing that makes LISTEN UP PHILIP rich for the arty bastards set makes it poor for those with healthy, well-balanced pysches though – which may explain why the film didn’t quite catch fire in the US last year.
Schwartzman couldn’t be better cast, whilst Pryce has a ton of fun doing the pretentious old fart routine. Moss and Ritter work well too, having to justify characters who would stick around for an obnoxious misanthropic.
Review by Paul Byrne

Listen Up Philip
Review by Paul Byrne
4.0Great casting!
  • filmbuff2011

    Listen up. The news on Listen Up Philip is that it tries hard to be offbeat and engaging, but fails miserably – a bit like the main character himself. Philip (Jason Schwartzmann) is a jaded, misanthropic New York writer who has just written his second novel. He lives with his girlfriend Ashley (Elisabeth Moss), who is growing frustrated with his latest attempts at selfish behaviour. Philip finds himself wanting to get out of the city, with whom he feels no emotional connection. He’s growing increasingly distant from Ashley, to the point where he wants to escape both her and the city. He takes up an offer from Ike (Jonathan Hyde), a noted fellow writer who has hit writer’s block. Spending time in Ike’s country retreat allows Philip to re-assess what he wants from life and to concentrate on what he loves the most: himself. But will he come back to the city the same? And will Ashley still be there for him? Listen Up Philip is like a wannabe Woody Allen film with most of the sparkling humour and killer one liners stripped out of it. What’s left by writer/director Alex Ross Perry is a story about a self-centred, egotistical character just drifting through life as it passes him by. This is the main problem with the film: Philip is a difficult, unrelatable character whose source of frustration with life is really down to himself. Schwartzmann, channelling some of Rushmore’s Max (minus the charm), at least brings his character to life – even if there isn’t much life in him. Moss is good support too – with a character that deserves her own film. Beyond that, the film meanders about, unsure of its general direction and purpose. If a film is meant to be a journey with a character, then Listen Up Philip is going in reverse, against the flow – like in a key shot towards the end. This film tries to say a lot about its main character but actually says very little. A dull, middling film at best, so there’s not much to recommend here. **