8 September 2015 | themissingpatient
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.