Listen Up Philip: Film Review


Listen Up Philip first premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and is now getting a limited release in U.K. cinemas this week. But I would recommend you avoid, because I found it so boring and infuriating.

Jason Schwartzman stars a Philip, a self-obsessed author awaiting the release of his second novel. He refuses to do any promotion for the book, he moves out of New York as he feels it stifles its creativity and to escape his depressing relationship with Ashley (Elisabeth Moss). He becomes friends with grumpy writer Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce), who offers him his isolated country retreat to work.


This makes it sound like Listen Up Philip has a plot, but it doesn’t. It is just a variety of scenes that generally illustrate how unpleasant Philip and Ike are. This is pitched a comedy-drama but I did not find it funny. I assume their narcissism and how brutally honest they are could be interpreted as funny for some, but it didn’t tickle me. I guess some people will like Philip despite him being so arrogant and self-absorbed but I just hated him and therefore did not care for what happened.

I decided to see this because it has an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But I honestly feel like I’ve seen an entirely different film. I was not a fan of the narration, which runs throughout the film explaining the feelings and choices of the central characters, and I had to seriously concentrate to stick with it until the end. I just didn’t care.


However, I have to praise the writing of Alex Ross Perry. The dialogue was strong, as was the characterisation, although it would have been nice to see Philip as more than an asshole – I was truly amazed he had girlfriends! I really liked Ashley and Ike’s daughter Melanie (Krysten Ritter) because they were the main people affected by Ike and Philip’s obnoxiousness.  So as you can tell, I did not love it and I would not recommend in the slightest.

In selected cinemas on Friday 9th June 


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