Listen Up Philip


Action / Comedy / Drama


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July 28, 2015 at 12:56 PM


Krysten Ritter as Melanie Zimmerman
Elisabeth Moss as Ashley Kane
Jason Schwartzman as Philip Lewis Friedman
Jonathan Pryce as Ike Zimmerman
720p 1080p
808.53 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
P/S 0 / 19
1.64 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
P/S 0 / 15

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by themissingpatient 6 / 10

Pretentious fools

Listen Up Philip is a messy character-driven piece in which, oddly enough, the narration is the best part of the film. This is not a film for everyone. The two male leads are pretentious fools that, despite all of their knowledge, lack any true wisdom and consistently make terrible choices. By the end, it's difficult to even feel any pity for them. The female characters, on the other hand, are the saving grace of the story and the actresses are terrific in their roles.

It's far from a typical storyline. Even with the narration, it's hard to say what the plot is, if there is one at all. The film has us enter and exit these characters lives at their most sad, desperate and difficult. Some will find it to be an insightful dark comedy while others will find it to be a pointless, drab drama that is frustrating to watch. The most bothersome aspect is the unsteady hand-held camera work, which comes and goes needlessly.

Listen Up Philip is like only reading the middle chapters of a novel. Fans of Noah Baumbach, Wes Anderson and Woody Allen's films may find a lot to enjoy here but if you're not a fan of character studies, this won't be for you.

Reviewed by Sergeant_Tibbs 6 / 10

A strong cast delivers better drama than laughs in a field of tired clich├ęs.

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.


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Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 6 / 10

couldn't care less about Philip but Ashley is fascinating

Philip Lewis Friedman (Jason Schwartzman) is a self-obsessed writer angry at everyone and everything. His new book is getting bad reviews. His girlfriend Ashley Kane (Elisabeth Moss) is tired of his antics. She finds companionship with her sister Holly (Jess Weixler) and a cat. Philip finds a new mentor in writer Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce) and he has a vacation home away from the city. Ike's daughter Melanie (Krysten Ritter) sees right through him.

Philip is a horribly tiresome character. It becomes a matter of how much of this annoying character one can truly take. I wouldn't call him an interesting ugly character either. He's simply an angry little selfish man. The Zimmermans aren't much better. Ashley is a much more compelling character. I'm really glad when the movie switches over to her story. Elisabeth Moss really hits it out of the park. If only this movie is about Ashley but it is not. It is sadly about Philip.

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