It's tough to come up with new storylines. We've been making movies for a hundred years and telling tales for thousands, so it's hard to fault someone for treading old ground. Of course, if you're going to go down the road most traveled then you'd better have something interesting to say. If you don't, at least make it easy to follow and include some eye candy. If you can't manage that, then you'll be on the same level as Lajos Koltai, who managed to turn Evening into a terrifically boring film.
As a woman (Vanessa Redgrave) lays on her deathbed, she can think of nothing but a brief, youthful tryst with Harris (Patrick Wilson). She's plagued by the missed opportunity and tunes everything else out, including her two daughters that are at her side. As she eases into the afterlife, the question seems to be whether this flirtation with love and her own youthful adventures are more important than her daughters and the issues they face. It's understandable for a dying woman to relive a crucial moment in her life, but Koltai did an awful job showing how this moment effected Ann between the two periods of time, which leaves you wondering why this moment was so meaningful. Their encounter seemed more lustful than loving and it was difficult to believe this tormented Ann for decades. In other words, the answer to Ann's question was woefully inadequete.
On a less esoteric level, Evening was just boring. The only notable performance was from Meryl Streep, but it was in the last 10 minutes of the film and I was too far gone. The rest of the cast had the chemistry and charisma of the Presidential Cabinet. This was Koltai's first real foray into direction after many years as a successful cinematographer and he just didn't have the chops. If you're looking for an upside to this film, I've heard great things about the book.