Full Review of Len and Company


Greetings again from the darkness. The reduction of a midlife crisis for new footage often leads to something that we have seen on the screen too many times in the past. However, writer/director Tim Godsall and co-writer Katharine Knight’s feature film debut is inspired by Carly Mensch’s 2008 character “Len, Asleep in Vinyl,” and what we get is a beautiful indie gem with several interesting characters.

The successful music producer Len Black has almost left the company, as evidenced by his farewell in the middle of an award ceremony and his new hobby, swimming in the algae-filled pool of his country house. His self-imposed exile seems to magically reveal the meaning of life and lead to a form of self-discovery. Soon his peaceful and deeply thoughtful Zen is disturbed – first by the arrival of his estranged son Max, and then by the presence of his protégé pop star Zoe. Len is harassed by uninvited guests, and also does not show anything approaching warmth or care.

What we really have is a psychological crisis collision of 3 people. Len is trying to grow up (shortly after, since he’s in his forties); obsessive-compulsive disorder Max dropped out of school, hoping to make it with his band; and Zoe is about to break down emotionally. Three confusions, all related to each other, when Max just wants Len to become a father this time, and Zoe wants him to show a little compassion and not treat her like the pop music legend she has become. Despite the relentless attention she has from her audience and fans, she needs a little attention from the guy who made her do it.

Rhys Ifans plays Len and his outstanding performance makes the film work. He realizes that he is an foolish, but has no idea how to pay for the past. Jack Kilmer (Val’s son, who is also the “Designer” in The Nice Guys) plays Max as a carefully thought-out young man who is never without his “To Do” list. Juno Temple plays Zoe and perfectly captures both sides and the tenderness of Young Glory. As a bonus, the fourth wheel is the local kid William (Keir Gilchrist, it’s a funny story), who, ironically, is a surrogate son type for Len and helps with household chores around the house. There is also a short sequence with Kathryn Hahn, who is still great as Lens’ ex and Max’s mom.

The severity of the emotion is brilliantly compensated by comic moments … some small, some not so small. The scene where Len Williams approaches the classrooms (in a quasi-parent-to-school day) is both hilarious and revealing. Without decency or good judgment, Len spreads to the students what his life was like. This is a turning point in the film, because in the end we see him as more than the culprit we originally thought. It also leads to the fact that Lens – right in Max’s face – gripes about the roots of rock’n’roll and how a privileged, snooty young man could not have the soul and spirit necessary to try.

Lessons are learned by everyone, and a lot of enlightenment happened at the end of the film. Of course, those who teach and those who study are somewhat unconventional, since it is Len who finally discovers that loneliness and loneliness are not a worthy goal. This is a wonderful first feature film by the filmmakers and a world-class performance by Mr. Ifans.

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