Diane Keaton, how you never seem to play any other characters.
This movie was pretty straight forward in its plot. Three sisters, all at different places in their lives, try to figure out what to do with their aging father. However, the father is kind of just a giant dick. Throughout the whole movie I never once felt sorry for the father who was obviously having issues with dementia and had issues with his children far before he needed to be in a nursing home. There are constant flashbacks to their relationship with their father and they are all awful, except small glimpses of him when they were super young.
This movie is pretty awful but at the end you mainly just feel bad that all the characters have to accept such an awful person as their father.
At this point I just really want to see Diane Keaton play a poor (or at least non-wealthy), single woman whose conflicts are caused by things other than her character’s own neuroses. But until then, it looks like we’re just going to get more of the same shit from her.
Hanging Up takes place in a world in which Diane Keaton (who was 54 when this was filmed), Meg Ryan (who was 39) and Lisa Kudrow (who was 37) are sisters. Age-wise, Eve (Ryan) and Maddy (Kudrow) make sense. But what about Georgia (Keaton), Eve’s 15-years-older sister? They all have the same two parents, but why they had a daughter, waited fifteen years, and then had two more, was never explained. Hanging Up makes a point to show us how awful the sisters’ mother is, whom Eve goes to see at one point. Apparently their mother hates children, hated being a mother, hated being a wife, and hates her children. So, again, why, if you found yourself in that situation, would you have one child, stay married and with the family for fifteen years, and then have two more? For a movie that felt like it was trying to force us to understand everything going on with this family, leaving that untouched seemed sloppy.
But this is coming from Hanging Up. If you’ve ever taken a screenwriting class, then you know that one of the #1 rules is that the audience loves when characters talk on the phone, especially when you don’t know what the other side is saying. Oh wait, no, I’m sorry . . . IT’S THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THAT. Yes, as the title suggests, a large amount of dialogue and action revolves around being on the phone. In fact, everytime Eve’s phone rings she jumps around wherever she is, picks up the phone, and screams into it “IS HE DEAD?” Because her father is elderly and he may die. But he may die then . . . or in 5 years? And that’s how Eve lives her life? So, I guess we’re just supposed to be okay with her clearly being insane.
I was annoyed when the dad finally died. Because it was sad, but only because it’s hard to make the death of an elderly parent not sad. The movie did not earn sadness; I would have rather felt the full brunt of relief that the movie was over than that mixed in with some choking up because Walter Matthau died.
The best part of the movie was the giant Newfoundland that occasionally served as comic relief. In a comedy. So that should tell you a lot!