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I have enjoyed Keaton and Douglas for years - I'm not that far behind them in the birthdays I've celebrated. And this movie is no exception. My wife and I found wonderful texture in the use of minor plot points to enhance the larger story. For instance - the stray dog which at first is disliked and then accepted...the metaphor of caterpillar and butterfly. It was all very nicely done in a story that evolved at a leisurely pace and with the layers one would expect in a life. As person expecting to see fewer years than I have already seen I appreciate films that reflect some of what I have experienced - and some of which I wish I had experienced. Movies such as these remind us, also, of the value of looking ahead to what life can hold no matter the number of years that have crinkled your brows.
It's easy to assume the worst of And So It Goes. It looks like every
other generic "comedy" that's been hastily slapped together to appeal
to a more mature audience - the kind of film in which, these days,
respected veterans of the silver screen appear in order to finance
their retirement. Heck, this isn't even the first time Michael Douglas
and Diane Keaton have popped up in such "comedies": the former played
an aging Lothario in Last Vegas, while Keaton kicked off the whole
sub-genre in Something's Gotta Give, and most recently appeared in The
Big Wedding. The good news is that And So It Goes somehow manages to
work anyway. It's predictable and occasionally not funny at all, but
when it settles into its groove, the weight of age and experience of
the two lead characters contributes quite a bit to their inevitable
Oren Little (Douglas) is a cynical, cantankerous old man who's never recovered from the death of his beloved wife many years ago. As a result, he's pushed almost everyone away, including his estranged, ex-junkie son Luke (Scott Shepherd). While trying to sell off his family home so he can retire in Canada, Oren moves into a lakeside apartment complex he owns. There, he meets Leah (Keaton), an aspiring lounge singer who can never get all the way through a song without bursting into tears at the thought of her own deceased husband. On his way to a stint in jail, Luke begs Oren to take care of his daughter Sarah (Sterling Jerins) - a task which Oren promptly palms off to Leah.
The plot, as you might imagine, marches on predictably from here: Oren and Leah, forced to spend more time together, begin to soften towards each other. He realises she's smart, spunky and a great cook; she sees that he's not just a grumpy, irascible ball of hatred. It's sometimes hard to take too seriously the way in which And So It Goes pulls off its so-called 'character development': can a casual bigot like Oren, who tosses off rather offensive remarks with little care for what others might think, really be trusted around other human beings? Much less deliver a baby, as he's called upon to do in one of the film's more surreal moments?
And yet, the film manages to find its own emotional groove anyway. The connection between Oren and Leah, both of whom have lost the first loves of their lives, is deep in a way other meet-cute romances aren't. You suspect that the reason they fall for each other is as much due to mutual attraction as to the fact that the other person loves so deeply and so truly.
Both actors lend the considerable weight of their experiences and personalities to their roles: Douglas gives Oren a great deal of charm, and makes his friendship with his old biddy of an assistant Claire (Frances Sternhagen) shine through the insults they casually trade. Keaton does what Keaton has always done, and does it very well. She glides through the film, as kooky as the day we first sat up and took notice of her in Annie Hall, and easily sings her tremulous way into Oren's heart - and the hearts of her audiences.
Not by any stretch of the imagination a great film, And So It Goes is nevertheless a mostly enjoyable watch. It won't be a highlight on the CVs of anyone involved: not for director Rob Reiner (who has a supporting role as Leah's hapless accompanist), and certainly not for Douglas and Keaton. But it won't be an abject embarrassment either. You might be hoping for a little more from cast and script and premise, but this is nevertheless a film that - for all its awkward fumbles - deals with the profound ideas of love, loss and second chances in a surprisingly effective way.
I enjoyed this movie. I didn't expect any fancy special effects, just a story about two people, Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas, who are both widowed. During a heated discussion, Diane Keaton reluctantly admits to Michael Douglas (or Oren Little) that she's 65no need to because she looks great not like an over-botox, over- collagen-ed Hollywood movie star over the age of 40. Anyway, Keaton, or Leah, is trying to find herself and is doing a wonderful job as a lounge singer, although a little weepy during her actbut this just adds to the sweetness of the movie. Oren Little is a grumpy real estate sales person, who finds it hard to be happy. But, with a Rob Reiner movie, we KNOW that the main characters are going to fall in love and eventually be happy. Thank you, Rob! Throw in a little family dysfunction, a little sadness, and a little of life's discontent. However, add new family members, people going out of their way to help one another, and love blossoms all around. The songs Diane Keaton sings during her act are actually her singing. No stand in. Her songs are soulful and wonderful. Definite feel-good movie! Highly recommend!
Recently I did not see many Hollywood movies anymore, as often in my opinion they are too much about special effects, and stories lack in soul and depth. And I don't like the typical sci-fi with lots of combat scenes. This movie was different from the usual ones, so I was glad that I have seen it. It's a movie full of warmth of human relationships, and that makes it a really lovely and also touching and very delicate in many parts of it. It's also witty, and makes one laugh a lot. Michael Douglas is brilliant in his character, as well as Diane Keaton and the little girl. It's movie about the up's and down's of life, but full of positive emotions who come out of persons with a quite rough life.
This movie has been crucified by most critics as being bland and vapid,
lacking in any emotional connection that would raise it to the level
of, oh, say, Something's Gotta Give (another Keaton vehicle), or
whatever other older rom-com you might want to mention. It is not that
bad. I sat in the theater, before the show, and read the critical
reviews on IMDb and was waiting for disaster! But I was pleasantly
surprised! The guy who wrote As Good As It Gets penned this film. It's
a knock off on that effort, one that one several Academy Award. I left
feeling the same way I did after watching that film.
This is a good movie. It is engaging and poignant, and has lines (particularly those from Frances Sternhagen) that are hilarious.
Yes, the theatre was not full when I went, and those in attendance were over 50. I'm not sure why critics would be so upset, just because a movie plays to a particular demographic...
My only complaint about Mr. Reiner (whose directorial efforts seem to be continually skewered) is that he really didn't need to play the piano player....otherwise, this film works, just as many other older rom-coms do. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent and the only clichéd scene is the abrupt childbirth sequence.
This is a good movie.
I found this movie charming witty touching and well cast and acted. The
humor was original to this story and spontaneous laugh out loud at
times. Written by the same person as 'As Good as it Gets' there is one
similarity with the caustic man who later does some really wonderful
things like Jack Nicholson in that movie. Michael Douglas as a crusty
old realtor has a role that is tailor made for him and the drug addict
son plot is quite touching since there are real life similarities. He
always delivers his lines just right. Diane Keaton as his tenant sings
well and doesn't over do it too hysterically like she does some times.
They are well paired so it's not icky. Sterling Jerins the little girl
from the Conjuring plays the grand daughter and she is very sweet and
touching. Frances Sternhagen is a very welcome presence. Frankie Valli
makes a too short cameo. Liked the jokes related to showing the house.
Don't know why a delightful movie like this has been so savaged by critics. Compared to other recent rom coms with older actors, it is better than "Hope Springs" with Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep which was cringe inducing and better than "It's Complicated" with Meryl and Alec Baldwin which felt forced and contrived.
Michael Douglas hasn't lost much along the way, he's still engaging and believable in his roles. This one is no exception. Diane Keaton is well, Diane Keaton. If you like her, you will like her in this role because all of her roles are pretty much the same. Me, I keep expecting her to come out with 'La De Da, La De Da, La De Da' at any moment. I'm not saying I don't like her, I do, it's just that her roles never achieve any real highs or lows, even when they are supposed to be exhibiting emotion. Her voice, as she proves in this film, isn't all bad for that of an aging chanteuse. But Rob Reiner you had to throw in the trite, tacky scene with the dog humping the teddy bear? Come on, you're better than that. We expect more and better from your films. Altogether I've got to say this is a good picture, predictable, but enjoyable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . from one of the most frenetic birthing scenes since GONE WITH THE WIND to graphic footage of butterfly reproduction. AND SO IT GOES from the dope house to the prison cell, featuring characters who have real life jobs and problems. Since the action is set and filmed in Connecticut, there are none of those ubiquitous palm trees that mar so many Hollywood pictures shot in California and other Southern states. When things look bleakest in this tale, baseball comes to the rescue. Violence and animal abuse are kept to a minimum, as the main action sequence involves an "Oopsie!" on a slip-and-slide. AND SO IT GOES from second chances to third or fourth tries, with every well-developed character serving a purpose. Aging actress Diane Keaton gets to laugh, cry, and croon about a dozen Golden Oldies, while the geriatric Michael Douglas proves he's still fit enough to carry a skinny 10-year-old girl at least 12 feet. AND SO IT GOES.
'And So It Goes' is an unfussy, light-hearted romantic-comedy, that
entertains you till it lasts. Its sweet & uncomplicated!
'And So It Goes' Synopsis: A self-absorbed Realtor enlists the help of his neighbor when he's suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son drops her off at his home.
'And So It Goes' is a decent film, about family & love. Mark Andrus's Screenplay is well-worded & fast, wasting no time in the narrative for its loopholes to ever show up grandly. Rob Reiner's Direction is pretty good. Reiner is back in form, after a hiatus.
Performance-Wise: 'And So It Goes' would've failed, had its leading performers faltered, but that doesn't happen here. Michael Douglas is superb as the self-absorbed Realtor, while Diane Keaton is extra-ordinary as the women in grief. The Legends perform above expectations, once again! Sterling Jerins is adorable.
On the whole, 'And So It Goes' works just fine. 91-Minutes will swing by well!
And So It Goes is a gentle comedy about the fragility of being human.
Rob Reiner, its director, suggests that in the eternal presence of
youth, it is possible to continue to grow young and transform one's
life. Although its main characters, Leah, a widow who sings torch songs
in supper clubs but can't get through one without crying (Diane Keaton)
and Oren, a widower and veteran Realtor who is just counting the days
until retirement (Michael Douglas), are at odds with each other. In the
course of events we find opposites attract and are vital to one
another's growth. Both are still actively grieving their deceased
spouses in very different ways. Oren slips away to the graveyard to
talk to his wife, while showing the world a nasty, hardened face. His
dream of retirement hinges upon the final sale of the $8.6 million
mansion where he lived with her once upon a time. Should the sale go
through, he intends to head for the serenity of a solitary life tucked
away in Vermont. In the mean time, he must weather the storm of living
among others in the cramped quarters of a multiple family dwelling he
owns and sardonically nicknames "Shangri-La." Although both Leah and
Oren are in fragile shape, they unify when Oren's ten year-old grand
daughter is dumped on his doorstep by his son, a man estranged from his
father for double digits who is going away to prison. Oren attempts to
get rid of the child, but Leah steps in, revealing her material
instincts in full bloom. Her "perfect love" with her deceased husband
did not enable her to become a mother and this is her opportunity. The
vulnerability of Oren's young grand daughter, who his keenly aware that
she has been dumped in the hands of an aging, unhappy man who does not
want her, is beautifully and delicately rendered.
In their struggle to deal with the child, Oren is humbled by Leah's superb ability to cope and begins to grow fond of both Leah and his grand daughter. In spite of his crude behavior toward his neighbors/tenants in the past, love enters the humble community at "Shangri-La" in the form of the arrival of a ten year old, the adoption of a stray dog, the sudden birth of a baby and the transformation of caterpillar into...a butterfly. This happiness is a metaphor for the potential happiness hidden in even the most banal settings and social situations. Only when events conspire to reveal the more elevated nature in people can both young and old face what the future has in store for them--something that is always a question mark.
And So It Goes is a far more realistic and beautiful love story than the blockbuster hit that Diane Keaton made with Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets, over a decade ago. It is not a movie about "beautiful people" living in spotless white houses in the Hamptons or middle aged divorcées who manage snag aging, jaded producers so rich they date twenty year-old girls. That film was a complete fantasy on every level. (Without Keanu Reeves for visual relief it would have been hard to take some of the love scenes.) And So It Goes is a far gentler, far less glamorous film about love "among the ruins" than As Good As It Gets. Its verisimilitude may make less mature audiences uncomfortable for that reason. Ultimately, Keaton and Douglas pull off their roles like the pros that they are. It's a pleasure to see them get to know one another gradually, albeit clumsily and foolishly, in a way that is true to life. I highly recommend And So It Goes for anyone brave enough to watch fragile people still attempting to transform their lives and move forward in the face of the unknown.
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