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Evening is a 2007 American drama film directed by Lajos Koltai. The screenplay by Susan Minot and Michael Cunningham is based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Susan Minot.


The film alternates between the 1950s and the present, in which a dying Ann Grant Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) reflects on her past. Her comments about people she never mentioned before leave her daughters, Constance (Natasha Richardson) and Nina (Toni Collette), wondering if she is delusional.

As a young woman in her early twenties, cabaret singer Ann (Claire Danes) arrives at the spacious Newport, Rhode Island, home of her best friend Lila Wittenborn (Mamie Gummer), who is soon to marry Karl Ross (Timothy Kiefer). Lila s brother (and Ann s college friend) Buddy (Hugh Dancy) introduces her to Harris Arden (Patrick Wilson), a young doctor and the son of a former family servant. Buddy tells Ann his sister has always adored Harris, and expresses his concern that she s marrying another out of a sense of duty rather than love. Drunk, Buddy passes out, and as Ann and Harris chat they have an instant connection.

On Lila s wedding day, she tells Ann that she confronted Harris with her feelings and he rebuffed her, so she marries Karl as planned. At the reception, Ann sings and is joined on stage by Harris. Afterwards Buddy, perpetually drunk, confronts them about their growing closeness. Then he unexpectedly kisses Harris. As Lila prepares to depart with her new husband, Ann offers to help her get away, but Lila refuses and leaves for her honeymoon.

Buddy admits to Ann he and Lila have had a type of crush on Harris since his childhood, though he says not in that way . He then changes the subject, confessing he has loved Ann for years, offering as proof a quick innocuous note she once gave him he has kept in his pocket ever since.

The younger guests dance drunkenly and dive into the sea from a clifftop: Buddy joins in but fails to surface, prompting a panicked search. When Buddy reappears at the top of the cliff, Ann expresses her anger at the prank and berates him for building her up as his true love and possibly for repressing his feelings for others. Storming off, she and Harris slip off to his secret hideaway and make love.

Buddy, seeking Ann, stumbles into the road and is hit by a car. He is found, but too late to save him. The following morning, Ann and Harris, oblivious to what transpired the night before, jokingly consider sailing away, but at the Wittenborn s they hear the news of Buddy.

In the present day, Lila (Meryl Streep) arrives at Ann s bedside to comfort her and reminisce. Ann recalls a day when she ran into Harris in the street in New York City. By then she had one daughter and was on the verge of moving to Los Angeles, and he was married with a son. He declared he still loved her before they exchanged cordial goodbyes.

As Lila leaves, she tells Nina about Harris and reassures her that her mother did not make any mistakes in her life. Nina sits with Ann, who encourages her daughter to have a happy life. Nina finally musters the courage to tell her boyfriend Luc she is pregnant with their child. An ecstatic Luc proudly announces the news to Constance and promises he always will be there for Nina. Their joy is interrupted by Ann s nurse, who urges the women to rush to bid Ann farewell.

Principal cast

The 1950s

  • Claire Danes as Ann Grant
  • Mamie Gummer as Lila Wittenborn
  • Patrick Wilson as Harris Arden
  • Hugh Dancy as Buddy Wittenborn
  • Glenn Close as Mrs. Wittenborn
  • Barry Bostwick as Mr. Wittenborn

The Present

  • Vanessa Redgrave as Ann Grant Lord
  • Toni Collette as Nina Mars
  • Natasha Richardson as Constance Haverford
  • Meryl Streep as Lila Wittenborn Ross
  • Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Luc
  • David Call as Pip
  • Eileen Atkins as Mrs. Brown, the night nurse
  • Kara F. Doherty as Chloe

Production notes

Filming began in September 2006.

The original screenplay, as was the novel, was set in Maine, but according to the commentary on the DVD release of the film, director Lajos Koltai was so taken with the Newport house found by his location scouts he opted to change the setting. A house in Tiverton was used for interior and exterior scenes. Bristol and Providence, Rhode Island, Greenwich Village, and the Upper West Side of Manhattan also were used for external scenes. Most of the automobiles were provided by the Antique Car Barn from Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

The song Time After Time which Ann sings for Lila at the wedding was written in 1947 by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. The song I See the Moon she later sings to her daughters is based on a traditional nursery rhyme.

The film grossed $12,406,646 in the US and $478,928 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $12,885,574.

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 27% approval rating, based on 129 reviews. The website s consensus reads, Beautifully filmed, but decidedly dull, Evening is a collossal waste of a talented cast. On Metacritic it has a score of 45% based on reviews from 33 critics, indicating mixed or average reviews .

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote Stuffed with actors of variable talent, burdened with false, labored dialogue and distinguished by a florid visual style better suited to fairy tales and greeting cards, this miscalculation underlines what can happen when certain literary works meet the bottom line of the movies. It also proves that not every book deserves its own film.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle observed The film arrives at a pessimistic and almost nihilistic view of life as something not very important – and then invites us to take strength and comfort in the notion. It s not what you d expect, and it s certainly not the typical message. It might be the most interesting thing about the picture.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone rated the film itself 2½ out of a possible four stars, but praised the cast, writing, the actors … provide flashes of brilliance. Hugh Dancy scores as the plot s catalyst for tragedy. And Claire Danes is stellar as the young Ann … Gummer proves her talent is her own in a star-is-born performance that signals an exceptional career ahead.

In the St. Petersburg Times, Steve Persall graded the film C and added Strong performances and an author s weak backbone make Evening a curious mistake … is memorable only for lovely period designs and for casting mothers and daughters to ensure better continuity.

Justin Chang of Variety wrote The more immediate problem with this ambitious, elliptical film is Koltai and editor Allyson C. Johnson s difficulty in establishing a narrative rhythm, as the back-and-forth shifts in time that seemed delicately free-associative on the page are rendered with considerably less grace onscreen. In ways reminiscent of Stephen Daldry s film of The Hours, the telling connections between past and present feel calculated rather than authentically illuminating.

In Time, Richard Schickel said the film represents perhaps the greatest diva round-up in modern movie history … Wow, you might think, how bad can that be? To which one responds, after two lugubrious hours in their company, really awful. Rarely have so many gifted women labored so tastefully to bring forth such a wee, lockjawed mouse … This may in part because it was Michael Cunningham, author of the book The Hours, another stupefying exercise in unspoken angst, who was hired to punch up the script Susan Minot was trying to make out of her novel. They share screenplay credit for Evening, but even in the press kit you can sense her loathing for his work. He s sort of Henry James without the cojones and definitely the most constipated sensibility the literary community has lately been in awe of. But I suspect that the director, Lajos Koltai, a Hungarian, has even more to do with the film s inertness.

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly rated Evening as the second-worst movie of 2007 (behind I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry).

Year 2007
ReleaseDate 2007-06-29
RuntimeMins 117
RuntimeStr 1h 57min
Plot A drama exploring the romantic past and emotional present of Ann Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) and her daughters, Constance Haverford (Natasha Richardson) and Nina Mars (Toni Collette). As Ann lays dying, she remembers, and is moved to …
Awards Awards, 3 nominations
Directors Lajos Koltai
Writers Susan Minot, Michael Cunningham
Stars Vanessa Redgrave, Toni Collette, Claire Danes
Produced by Michael Cunningham,Jill Footlick,Michael Hogan,Robert Kessel,Susan Minot,Luke Parker Bowles,Thomas A. Reilly,Jeffrey Sharp,Claire Taylor,Nina Wolarsky
Music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Cinematography by Gyula Pados
Film Editing by Allyson C. Johnson
Casting By Kerry Barden,Suzanne Crowley,Billy Hopkins
Production Design by Caroline Hanania
Art Direction by Jordan Jacobs
Set Decoration by Catherine Davis
Costume Design by Michelle Matland,Ann Roth
Makeup Department Cheryl Daniels,Heather Gerchberg,Tricia Heine,J. Roy Helland,Navya La Shay,Jerry Popolis,Karen Specht,Bradley Stenson,Louie Zakarian,Frank Barbosa,Paula Dion,Diane Dixon,Christine Fennell
Production Management Stephanie Accetta,Jane Nerlinger Evans,Jennifer Lane,Nellie Nugiel,Judy Richter
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director John Greenway,Deanna Leslie,Thomas A. Reilly
Art Department Brian Buckley,Jason Case,Jessica Case,Doug Cluff,Melissa Cooperman,Peter K. Dunbar,Elizabeth Fisher,Eric Jerman,Lance Littlefield,Robin Everett McGuirl,Brian McKenzie,Ann Miller,Janine Moore,Paul Peabody,Scott T. Pina,Michael Ramsey,Helen Rasmussen,John Ryder,Will Scheck,Robert Schleinig,Elizabeth Schlitten,Karl Shefelman,Andrew Spagnoli,Steven Sparfven,Meaghan E. Stone,John H. Storey,Debra Sugarman,Katie Tower,Bill Wieters,Peter Wilcox,Erik Malkovich,Randy L. Parisian,Giovanni Rodriguez,Debra Sugarman,Cleo Wang
Sound Department Gina Alfano,David Boulton,Timothy R. Boyce Jr.,Rachel Chancey,Krissopher Chevannes,Detlef Halaski,Harry Higgins,Bobby Johanson,Thomas Kodros,Lenny Manzo,Dave Paterson,Mary Ellen Porto,Joel Reidy,Steve Schwartz,Reilly Steele,Shane Stoneback,Robert Troeller,Tom Williams,Ryan Collison,Jay Peck
Special Effects by J.C. Brotherhood,Chris Jordan,John Ruggieri
Visual Effects by Sarah Barber,Michael Becki,Shawn Broes,Rene Clark,Adrian Colbert,Anand Dorairaj,Mai-Ling Dydo,David Fix,Zachary J. Gans,Robert Greb,Kris Gregg,Annu Gulati,Nicholas Hasson,Victoria Holt,Mark Intravartolo,Ethan Lee,Shun Sing Edward Lee,Jim Maxwell,Sarah McMurdo,Sean Mills,Mateo Novacovici,Ben Perez,Matt Ralph,Dominic Remane,Darcy Reno,Carolyn Shelby,Brendan Taylor,Ed Thompson,Aaron Weintraub,Fiona Campbell Westgate,Colin Withers,Wojciech Zielinski
Stunts G.A. Aguilar,Blaise Corrigan,Geoffrey Dowell,Samantha MacIvor,Stephen Mann,Thomas T. O Brien,Christopher Place,Keith Siglinger,Jason Matthew Barclay,Thomas T. O Brien,Christopher Place
Camera and Electrical Department Leonard Applefeld,Rick Beausoleil,Jason Bowen,Eric Boyle,Robert Bullard,Robert Clark,Brian Corbett,Jerry DeBlau,Kenneth Dodd,Dru Dunnaway,Eric Engler,Brant S. Fagan,Cynthia Fand,James V. Gartland,Peter Girolami,Michael Hadley,Sean Hadley,John Halligan,John Hamilton,Matt Harrington,Christian J. Hollyer,Sal Lanza,John Levy,John R. Loyd,Robin MacLeod,Phil Nason,Gene Page,Michael Peterson,Mark Price,David Puopolo,Blackford Boots Shelton,Liz Silver,Gregory W. Smith,Elliott Snell,Bill Trautvetter,Aaron Tyburski,Thomas Yostpille,Andy Zuch,Joshua Barnatt,Robert Beinhocker,Rick Cardillo,Brant S. Fagan,Josh Friz,Ryan Gibeau,Zack Gorman,Ed Lalli,JD Leedham,Rob Massey,Dave Provenzano,Peter Rippe,David C. Romano,Travis Trudell
Casting Department Sondra James,Jessica Kelly,Anne Mulhall,Paul Schnee,Grant Wilfley,Marny Smith
Costume and Wardrobe Department Gina Castellano,Nina Cinelli,David Davenport,Nicole Greenbaum,Donna Maloney,Janna Pederson,Ann Powderly,Jonathan Schwartz,Benjamin Wilson,Megan Asbee,Margaret Palmer
Editorial Department Joe Finley,Terry Haggar,Patrick McGuinn,Zara Park,Ben Perez,Carrie Puchkoff,Pat Repola,Gina Sansom,David A. Smith,Joe Violante,Alexis Wiscomb,Brian Boyd,Charles Herzfeld,Jason Spencer
Location Management Dave Ginsberg,Charles Harrington,Corri Hopkins,Adam McCarthy,Andrew Saxe,Chris Walsh,Colin Walsh,Mimi Coleman,Shannon Dennard,Scott Franklin
Music Department Christine Bergren,Adam Bytof,Linda Cohen,Jan A.P. Kaczmarek,Christopher Kennedy,Krzysztof Kit,Agnieszka Kopacka,Bogna Kowalska,Deb Lapidus,Sylwia Mierzejewska,Leszek Mozdzer,Rafal Paczkowski,Enis Rotthoff,Justyna Steczkowska,Marek Szpakiewicz,Piotr Tatarski,Janusz Wawrowski,Tadeusz Wicherek
Script and Continuity Department Robin Squibb
Transportation Department Roland A. Allard,Stephan Atamian Jr.,Oscar Beguiristain,Charles Bessette,John Bubba Branch,Richard R. Busardo,Sam Cardarelli Jr.,Mike Easter,George Forte,George M. Gagnon,Kenny Gaskins,Ernie Hallquist,Ronald R. Harrison,James Healey,Jon M. Johnson,Keith Kalohelani,Gino Lucci,John McLaughlin,Daniel Nason,Harry R. Ogden,Wade Pytka,Nicholas Ricamo,Dexter Roberts,John Ryder,Antonio G. Silva,Ronald J. Vincent
Additional Crew John Alfred,Sheila Allen,Natalie Angel,Anthony Bonello,Patrick D. Boyd,Barbara Branch,Wilson Braun,Eamonn Burke,Troy Caldwell,Celeste Autumn Clark,Clementine Crawford,Robert Darwell,Joe Deingenis,Patrick Donovan,Anthony Dorre,Gleanna Doyle,Henry Fernaine,Jane Finn-Foley,Mike Fitzgerald,Natsu Furuichi,Philippe Gallichet,Jonathan Golfman,Franky Guttman,Tina Hamilton,Crystal Jenney,Kristin Johansen,Matthew J. Kotowski,Ashley Kravitz,Amy Leigh Johnson,Patrick Mahoney,Ryan McPeake,Carlos Medeiros,Rob Meisenholder,Ashley Morris,Daniel Murray,Thomas T. O Brien,Chris Michael Peterson,Christina Pitassi,Luke Poling,Heather Quam,Joe Robinson,Phil Rodowsky,Todd Rodowsky,Whitney Rothe,Howard Samuelsohn,Ken Schiff,Dee Schuka,George Sheanshang,David H. Angell,Jason Matthew Barclay,Terry Conforti,Jennifer Zolten Freed,Mark Killian,Michael Kowalczyk,Thomas T. O Brien,Jeff Pinette,Jillian Roache,Jesse Rosenblatt,Joe Russo,Heli Soell,Alan Francis Sullivan,Bill Timoney
Thanks Steven Feinberg
Genres Drama, Romance
Companies Hart Sharp Entertainment, MBF Erste Filmproduktiongesellschaft, Twins Financing
Countries USA, Germany
Languages English
ContentRating PG-13
ImDbRating 6.4
ImDbRatingVotes 13659
MetacriticRating 45
Keywords unrequited love,alternating time lines,longtime boyfriend girlfriend relationship,musician,medical doctor