Georgia Mozell, Eve Marks and Maddy Mozell are adult sisters. Georgia is the editor of her own wildly successful self-titled women's magazine. She strives for publicity at any cost. Party planner Eve is the mother hen of the group, not only of her own family, but also of her siblings and father as their mother, Pat, not only emotionally left their father when they divorced, but her daughters as well. And Maddy is a vacuous soap opera actress who has always struggled for her own identity. Despite being as busy with her own life as the others, Eve is the only one of the three who deals with the long term hospitalization of their cantankerous seventy-nine year old father, Lou Mozell, when he enters the early stages of dementia, and the associated outcomes of that hospitalization. Eve's caring for Lou is despite an especially hurtful incident with him seven years earlier. As the emotional aspect of looking after Lou becomes more and more stressful, Eve has to figure out how to maintain ...Written by
My main motivation for renting this movie was to see Walter Matthau's final performance. Matthau was one of our most talented, all-around actors. It was sad to see him go, but his performance in this movie was a fine conclusion to his thriving career. I don't think he could've picked a better final role to play. And being that Matthau played a dying father, it was even more heartbreaking to watch. I didn't break into tears any time during the movie, but I came close to it quite a few times.
First off, "Hanging Up" was pretty much marketed as a comedy. A fluffy romantic comedy, or chick-flick if you want to go with the stereotype. There are undeniably some very funny moments, but it's all done as comic relief. Overall, this is a sad, touching story that should hit home to many people who've had--or have--severed communications with their siblings or parents. I personally don't experience that in my family, but I know many who do. The father-daughter relationship, especially between Meg Ryan and Matthau, is brutally realistic. It's very touching to see how the two of them stick with each other through thick and thin, even through Dad's messy alcoholic rages. The other two sisters, Lisa Kudrow and Diane Keaton, have grown distant from their sick, elderly father with Alstheimer's Disease. While Ryan uses every ounce of her free time to visit her Dad in the hospital, the other sisters use their work as an excuse for never finding time.
I've heard people say that the scenarios in this film are unrealistic. Well, as far as I understand, the movie is based on the real life relationships of the Ephron sisters (who wrote the screenplay). Of course, there's some witty dialogue and situations that were obviously thrown in for entertainment purposes, but it's all based on real life. Truth can be stranger than fiction. Besides, I wasn't once doubting the plausibility of the film. Maybe it's because I was so indulged in the characters and the spirited performances, but whatever it was--it worked.
I have to say, I never thought Meg Ryan looked really attractive, before I saw her in "You've Got Mail." I liked her "When Harry Met Sally..." and some of her past movies, but she just had a conservative, housewifey appearance that never really did anything for me. Now she looks soooooooo cute with her straight blonde hair. Every minute she was on screen I just wanted to run up to the screen and kiss her! And may I say, she has a smile to die for.
Walter Matthau is both entertaining and touching in an understated performance that he should be remembered for, not just because it was his last performance (Hell, I loved John Candy, but I'm not going to say his performance in "Wagon's East" was the greatest), but because it was a brilliant one. Not only does he make the funniest, sometimes vulgar and off-color, wisecracks but he's so likable. Yet he has an alcohol problem. Showing us that even the most likable people have their faults. You do feel the sisters' pain when (in a flashback) Matthau barges into his grandson's birthday party, completely drunk, yelling obscenities, humiliating everyone and finally destroying the party altogether and causing the kids to cry, but you also feel his pain when his daughter's husband (Adam Arkin) chases him out of the house and wants to make sure that he never sets foot in the house again.
"Hanging Up" has everything you can possibly want in a film: humor, romance, sentiment, drama, moments of truth. Yet it's not delivered in a schmaltzy, "Lifetime" Movie of the Week format. And you leave with a good feeling in your heart. I definitely recommend this movie, especially since it reached a very scant audience in theaters. Just make sure you have the phone numbers of your sisters or fathers handy, because you're definitely gonna want to give them a call afterwards!
My score: 7 (out of 10)
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