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Len and Company

Len and Company

Sep. 11, 2015 Canada102 Min.
Your rating: 0
8.8 1,802 votes

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Synopsis

A successful music producer quits the industry and exiles himself in upstate New York, but the solitude he seeks is shattered when his estranged son and the pop star he’s created come looking for answers.

Len and Company
Len and Company
Len and Company
Len and Company
Original titleLen and Company
IMDb Rating6.1 287 votes
TMDb Rating6.3 3 votes

(5) comments

  • ChristianSeptember 19, 2015Reply

    TIFF and Tim Godsall

    Len and Company is a lean and mean cinematic machine. A gem of a
    genuinely funny, quirky and heart-warming film you don’t want to end.

    I saw an early morning screening at TIFF to a pleased crowd and with
    writer-director and the two lead actors.

    Tim Godsall is a Toronto native who is behind some of the world’s most
    innovative and funny commercials in most part including Axe and XBOX,
    but now he express himself fully in his first feature, filmed in
    Ontario but representing upstate New York contemplative country
    setting.

    The character of Len, played brilliantly by Rhys Ifans, is the main
    draw of this story because it could have been a cliché rock star satyr,
    but breathes instead of freshness, frailty and lots of humanness
    without losing its rough edges and ”coolness” factor. Balanced with a
    lost son looking for acceptance, estranged wife, friendly younger
    neighbour and a talented but tormented young artist (Zoe) played by
    Juno Temple, the story reaches a near-perfect portrayal of a man who
    had it all, but is lost in the world. This multi-character interplay is
    spot on from both acting and directing standpoint and you could see
    that a real synergy had developed between all of them.

    Every scene had dramatic tension but with a lot of humour throughout
    and actual exploration of human, artistic, psychological and
    philosophical truths or realities. You got to know and care about all
    this characters, feel for them and laugh with them. See the world
    through their eyes for a while and wish maybe you could have been in
    their less than perfect world a little longer but also appreciating
    your less than perfect world more when the credits rolled all too soon.

    Jack Kilmer plays the son, Max, in perfect opposition to Rhys Ifans,
    Juno Temple and the other supporting cast. He keeps the movie grounded
    and real as opposed to Len (and Zoe)’s eccentricities. But Len is Len
    and scenes like his autobiographic rant in the classroom are classic
    comedy at a high degree, but not without the levity and bitterness both
    felt by the character and omnipresent in the farce, making it never
    far-fetched.

    Tim Godsall took the right script with the right people, added some
    choice music and made it magic! Script, silence, dialogue, images,
    music and mood mixed to perfection.

    May we see more movies (and dare I say less commercials) from a clear
    storyteller with a welcome edge. Best movie of 2015 so far? You got it.
    Other critics point out some petty underutilization of some story
    elements, supporting acting (compared to Ifans unanimous monster
    performance) or pace (note: the movie seems to have been trimmed down
    from 102 to 97 mins). I rather see this film to be a self-contained
    contemporary concoction that does not try to be all-encompassing but
    rather fleeting but with feeling like all its characters. In this
    aspect, its achieves this with extraordinary efficacy. The emotions,
    laughter and struggle resonate and the resolution or (lacktherof) is a
    recipe for enjoyable repeat viewing.

    Canada 2015 | 97 mins | Toronto International Film Festival | English

  • David Ferguson ([email protected])June 9, 2016Reply

    The pond would be good for you

    Greetings again from the darkness. Mining a mid-life crisis for new
    film material often results in something we have seen on screen too
    many times in the past. However the first feature film for
    writer/director Tim Godsall and co-writer Katharine Knight draws
    inspiration from the 2008 Carly Mensch one-act play ”Len, Asleep in
    Vinyl”, and what we get is a terrific little indie gem with multiple
    interesting characters.

    Highly successful music producer Len Black has pretty much ”dropped
    out” of society as evidenced by his quitting in the midst of an awards
    ceremony, and by his new hobby of floating in the algae-laden swimming
    pool at his country estate. His self-imposed exile seems designed to
    magically reveal the meaning of life and lead to a form of
    self-discovery. Soon his peaceful deep-in-thought zen is disrupted –
    first by the arrival of his estranged son Max, and then by the presence
    of his pop star protégé Zoe. Len is perturbed by the uninvited guests,
    and shows nothing approaching warmth or caring towards either.

    What we really have is a 3 person collision of psychological crisis.
    Len is attempting to come of age (a bit late, given he’s in his
    mid-40’s); OCD Max has dropped out of school in hopes of making it with
    his band; and Zoe is on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Three
    messes all intertwined with each other, as Max just wants Len to be a
    dad this one time, and Zoe wants him to show a little compassion and
    not treat her like the pop music ATM she has become. Despite the
    relentless attention she has from her public and fans, what she needs
    is a bit of attention from the guy that got her into this.

    Rhys Ifans plays Len, and his outstanding performance makes the film
    work. He realizes he’s a jerk, but has no clue how to atone for the
    past. Jack Kilmer (Val’s son who is also the ”projectionalist” in The
    Nice Guys) plays Max as a carefully considered young man who is never
    without his ”to do” list. Juno Temple plays Zoe, and perfectly captures
    the two sides and delicacy of young fame. As an added bonus, the fourth
    wheel is local kid William (Keir Gilchrist, It’s Kind of a Funny
    Story), who ironically is a surrogate-son type to Len, and helps out
    with chores around the house. There is also a brief sequence featuring
    the always great Kathryn Hahn as Len’s ex and Max’s mom.

    The heaviness of the emotional stuff is offset brilliantly by comedic
    moments … some small, others not so small. The scene with Len
    addressing William’s classroom (in a quasi-take-a-parent-to-school day)
    is both hilarious and insightful. Minus any decorum or good judgment,
    Len spills to the students what his life has been. It’s a turning point
    in the film as we finally see him as more than the dirtbag we
    originally thought. It also leads to Len’s rant – right in Max’s face –
    about the roots of rock and roll, and how a privileged, uptight young
    man couldn’t possibly have the soul and spirit required to make a go of
    it.

    Lessons are learned by all, and much enlightenment has occurred by
    film’s end. Of course, those doing the teaching and those doing the
    learning are a bit unconventional, as it’s Len who finally figures out
    solitude and loneliness may not be a worthy goal. It’s a wonderful
    first feature from the filmmakers and a top notch performance from Mr.
    Ifans.

  • jdesandoJune 21, 2016Reply

    Keen insight into parenthood and fame

    Although this unassuming story about a rock star turned producer turned
    recluse proceeds at a somewhat leisurely pace, underneath the exchanges
    among rocker father, Len (Rhys Ifans),son Max (Jack Kilmer),and rock
    singer Zoe (June Temple) is discord that can’t be quieted. It’s a
    strong story about parents and mentoring that refuses to be bland.

    The only unsurprising element is the lack of communication between
    father and son, who’s blamelessly trying to get his father’s
    checked-out attention, albeit fulfilling his father’s jaded prediction
    that everyone wants something by trying to get his producer-father to
    listen to his band’s demo. Around the current Father’s Day, the
    dysfunction is not a surprise for any of us who want better
    communications with our children.

    Len’s protégé, Zoe, asks nothing more than to see him in his remote
    digs, and while she has the typical drug problem of many rockers, she
    bonds with Max and makes small inroads into Len’s wall of silence.
    Besides being a good story of dysfunction, Len and Company gives a
    non-strident critique of the isolating nature of success.

    No better example than when Len visits his young friend, William (Keir
    Gilchrist), at his class to talk about his business. The colorful
    language and racy stories leave the school kids and teacher stunned,
    but there is freshness in his lecture that could be beneficial to their
    future.

    Therein lies the irony of the story, a remote rocker exiled from the
    world but still capable of moving even the youngest in an audience.

  • ajrg-17-381639November 4, 2016Reply

    Well acted character driven

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • TxMikeNovember 9, 2016Reply

    Former rocker and record producer becomes a recluse in upstate NY.

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

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