Cinema Review: Listen Up Philip | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 28th, 2024  

Listen Up Philip

Studio: Tribeca Film
Directed by Alex Ross Perry

Oct 13, 2014 Issue #51 - September/October 2014 - alt-J
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Insufferable asshole Philip (Jason Schwartzman) is an acclaimed literary wunderkind; his debut novel made him “notable, but not successful,” as he repeatedly points out. The lead-in to his follow-up publication, a waning relationship with his live-in girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss), and the persistent motion of NYC have left him frayed and his mind scattershot. To escape it all, he accepts the invitation of a reclusive literary icon (Jonathan Pryce) to stay with him at his upstate cottage hideaway.

Philip is a self-important twat — hilariously so — but writer/director Alex Ross Perry covers for him. Though it takes place over less than a year’s time, the film offers a cutaway of three characters’ near-complete life stories. Through (funnily) prosaic narration and, more organically, through dialogue, we’re given reasons for Philip’s abrasive nature, his author hero’s lonely lifestyle, and his girlfriend’s recent self-discovery. Listen Up Philip feeds off the same fidgety, anxiety-driven humor that drove so many of Woody Allen’s classics in the 1970s. The narrator, the NYC setting, and the jazzy soundtrack help to draw that comparison, but it’s the clever writing which aligns it most with Allen’s best works.

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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