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Bumpy comedy-drama with insufficient changes in tone
moonspinner554 September 2005
The best scene in this Diane Keaton-directed film has drunken dad Walter Matthau showing up at a kid's birthday party bellowing and vulgar, but it doesn't belong in a comedy. It's more like something out of "Shoot The Moon", which Keaton starred in, and would fit much better in a film with a darker tone. "Hanging Up" wobbles around in search of appropriate emotions, but Keaton just can't get a consistent rhythm going. Her performance as the eldest of three unhappy sisters is also wan (she's winging it), however Meg Ryan as the middle sister has some fabulous moments: she hugs a coffee machine, she tries to convince her husband that driving a wrecked truck is going to work for her, she tells off her father but cries because she loves him. This is a performance well worth watching, but the picture definitely needed a director with a tighter grip on the reins. ** from ****
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Bittersweet In Many Ways
sddavis631 June 2001
Some very good performances help this otherwise forgettable film about the relationship between the three daughters (played by Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow), of a dying man (Walter Matthau.) There isn't anything particularly noteworthy about the story itself. Told largely in flashback style, we see how the father-daughter relationship evolved over the years from a happy, loving one through the breakup of the parents and into the last days before Lou's death. The movie features fairly typical scenarios of the types of things that might cause family breakdowns (divorce, alcoholism, sibling rivalry, etc.) There are some humourous moments, but all in all I found myself largely disappointed by the story.

As I mentioned, though, there were some good performances which lifted this from a bad one to the ranks of mediocre to average. Meg Ryan was particularly good as Eve, the daughter who bears most of the responsibility for caring for Lou. She's guilty of a bit of overacting at times, but is definitely worthy of the leading role. Walter Matthau played Lou very well - but, of course, he should have been accustomed to playing crotchety old men by that point in his career. There were some surprise performances as well. Lisa Kudrow demonstrated more acting ability than I expected from her based on having watched "Friends" a few times, and, in a very limited role, Duke Moosekian was really quite funny as Dr. Omar Kunundar, whose car Eve manages to damage in a car accident. On the negative side, I was also surprised by what I thought was a very below average performance by Diane Keaton (who also directed, and who, in my opinion, showed no great talent as a director.) She simply began to grate after a while.

The best word I can come up with to describe this movie is bittersweet, both in the story of how a seemingly happy family turned out to be so consumed in anger and jealousy, and in the sense that the movie had possibilities, particularly in the strong performances I mentioned, that just didn't seem to add up to anything. Generously, I rated this as a 5/10.
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Truly terrific motion picture filled with heart
mattymatt4ever21 December 2001
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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Blood relationships don't always indicate a need for a personal relationship.
mark.waltz7 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
As their mother, Cloris Leachman, points our, just because your a mother doesn't mean you feel like one or even want to be one. This is not a feel good family movie, even as a comedy. The three daughters are Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow, and the plot surrounds life with father, not mother. He's Walter Matthau, a lovable but senile 79 year old, more consumed with John Wayne's supposed small pecker and a giant bullet that the Duke gave him when he starred in a film that Matthau wrote, than his increasing dementia. Ryan is the caretaker in the family, there constantly at his side, while magazine editor Keaton and soap opera actress Kudrow are far too consumed with their lives to really care. It's obvious that Matthau is slowly fading so it will take a major wake up call to get the other two sister's attention.

While Ryan and Kudrow seem like sisters, Keaton is as far from being believable, even as (apparently) being much older. It's interesting too that the oldest is the most distant, because usually, it's the opposite. Matthau is the consummate scene stealer, so delightfully un p.c. and speaking his mind freely. One scene shows what happens to the mind as Matthau goes on a rampage against Ryan, the only one of the three who certainly doesn't deserve it. The script seems to be all over the place, having one scene being at Christmas, and one right after at Halloween, with no evidence that it is supposed to be a flashback.

Still, the script does get certain truths right about family and reminds the viewer that the best drama comes from the conflicts within one's own memory of the hardships being around people that you are forced to love but always find it difficult once the physical closeness turns to estrangement. The focus on Ryan over the other two shows her as very flawed too, and her own flaw of driving while on the phone resulting in a car accident brought out an important point that must have gone over the heads of viewers at the time. In Matthau's last film, he is as commanding as Henry Fonda was in "On Golden Pond", although there is absolutely no subtlety in his characterization. A scene where Ryan lies about her mother being killed in a 9.11 earthquake is uncomfortable to watch, not only for the obvious lie, but for the irony of the numbers chosen. Leachman's appearance is barely a cameo. The scenes of the three sisters fighting then making up doesn't seem at all real. So much potential for a great film gone sour with poor choices in the overall structure and script.
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Truth hurts
kenandraf16 July 2001
Touchy subject matter is a slap to the face for the way many people treat their dying senile parents,thus causing the typical masses to under rate this film.Too much reality for mainstream taste.But for those few who have MATURE INTELLECT,this film truly delivers.Heartwarming and bitter at the same time,it shows us that we have to try our best to give time to our senile parents no matter how close you were in the past.It also shows us that we must also learn to cut off some things from our lives in times of stress in order to deal with priorities.We must learn to compromise and prioritise carefully to lessen regrets.Well acted and directd film despite it's lack of story.Only for fans of drama and dark comedy who understand life.....
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not funny
SnoopyStyle21 January 2016
Sisters Georgia Mozell (Diane Keaton), Eve Marks (Meg Ryan) and Maddy Mozell (Lisa Kudrow) try to deal with their elderly father Lou (Walter Matthau) who is slowly fading into dementia. Party planner Eve is his caretaker as well as her own family and husband Joe Marks (Adam Arkin). Georgia is a successful editor of her magazine. Maddy is the self-obsessed soap actress. Their mother Pat (Cloris Leachman) is estranged from the family after the divorce.

Walter Matthau dies soon after the movie's release. I wish he has a better final curtain call than this. The movie's premise seems to be that everybody is on their phone and they need to hang up. It doesn't make for an appealing cinematic experience. It tries to be comedic without actually being funny. I would rather this stay being more serious. The writing is too manufactured without real heart. The movie gets better whenever the sisters hang up and get together. I know that's the point of the movie but it just makes for a more comfortable watch.
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wildly uneven comedy/drama
Buddy-513 February 2001
The late Walter Matthau ended his long and illustrious career as a film actor in `Hanging Up,' playing, appropriately, the dying father of three adult daughters. I wish I could say that the vehicle he chose as his eventual swan song were one truly worthy of his enormous skill and talent. Unfortunately – or rather fortunately – however, this will not be the film for which he is most remembered.

Like so many films, `Hanging Up' starts off with the most noble of intentions. Writer Delia Ephron and director Diane Keaton have attempted to come to terms with the most complex issue facing the aging baby boomer generation: how does one cope with ailing, aging and dying parents while trying to keep a grip on one's own hectic life and personal commitments? And, to make matters more complicated, how does one expend the physical and emotional energy needed for such a task when the parent himself is often irascible, crusty and even downright unlikable in his behavior and nature? And, finally, how does a wounded child ultimately find it in his or her heart to forgive the parent and arrive at that moment of reconciliation so crucial when death finally comes?

When `Hanging Up' focuses on this theme, it achieves moments of point and relevance. All of us can identify with the main character, Eve (Meg Ryan), a sweet, warmhearted young woman who, alone of the three daughters, has unflaggingly dedicated herself to the care of a father who, more often than not, strikes out at her in unappreciative scorn and anger. Wearied and harassed by the enormous burdens of her hectic life and her own inability to say `no' to the people who demand so much from her, Eve emerges as a truly winning and believable character. Unfortunately, her two sisters, Georgia (Diane Keaton), a magazine magnate, and Maddy (Lisa Kudrow), a soap opera actress, come across as shallow, two-dimensional characters whose self-absorption and seeming indifference are (ho hum) really masks for the insecurity and hurt hidden deep beneath their composed surfaces.

Somehow, however, for all its attempts to deal with a truly universal theme, `Hanging Up' never seems quite real in its look and demeanor – it always feels like a movie. Maybe it is the overall slickness of the approach that undermines the seriousness of the drama. The actresses, good though they are, seem somehow too glamorous, their careers too unrepresentative of most of the people in the audience. Another problem is that the film can never seem to settle on an appropriate tone. One moment we find ourselves steeped in searing drama followed the next by a scene of trivial slapstick. Time and again, Ryan is forced to trip over a discarded toy, tangle with an overgrown mutt or bang away at an uncooperative coffee dispenser. Such incidents end up reducing the level of the drama to little more than sitcom status.

`Hanging Up' has, however, been blessed with a wonderful cast. Ryan, Keaton, Kudrow and Matthau pore on the charm and play off each other nicely. (And the film has some devilish fun playing up the physical similarities between Matthau and Richard Nixon). These fine performers obviously had a terrific time making the film together. That is why one regrets the fact, that for all their hard work, the film they left behind is so lacking in credibility and grit. At the end of his career and life, Matthau deserved better.
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Hated it, and then I loved it.
Jane5210 September 2004
The first time I saw this movie, in the theater, I was too caught up in the unexpected awfulness of Eve's situation to be rational about my reaction. Only someone who has lived through an experience like this could possibly understand her feelings about her father, her selfish sisters, her truly horrible mother, while trying (unsuccessfully, but sincerely trying!!) to maintain some kind of family life with her husband and son. I loved the frequent flashbacks. I think this is a movie for the over-forty audience, because I'm not sure anybody else could understand it. The second time I watched it, I was able to concentrate more on the story, and the story is a good one. Sure, it's no knee-slapping comedy, but it never presented itself as such. It's almost too realistic in parts, if you've ever had a parent in this situation, you would understand. If you haven't yet reached that part of your life, there is no way you could possibly understand. The doctor's mother was a love of a person. I'd like to see her again. I wish I knew her in real life. And, the soundtrack is absolutely awesome. Jay McShann's "Once Upon A Time" is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. And when it was sung over the flashback of Eve's mother and father dancing, I cried through the whole scene. If you are seeking a comedy, seek elsewhere.

If you are at that stage of your life where you are seeking a great mixture of comedy, tragedy, irony, and frustration (just like our real lives!) then go rent this movie tonight. Have some Kleenex handy.
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Walter Matthau's final film. And what a stinker it is
studioAT24 September 2015
Take a lot of talented and funny actresses, put them in a set up that should work and then sit back and wait for laughter. That was the plan anyway. Sadly it doesn't work and this film is poor, often coming off as a cheaper version of Sex and the city without the bite.

It's talky, it's glib, it's a lot of old nothing really, with some scenes not feeling linked despite being straight after each other. The two girls (and Diane Keaton) try their best but come on, they must know it isn't working.

The only bright spot of the film is Walter Matthau, who sadly makes his last appearance on screen before his death. Sadly he can't elevate this film but does have some smart lines and still manages to act his co-stars off the screen. We miss you Walter.
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Crank Call
inspectors715 February 2007
Telemarketer irritation--that's the feeling I had when I watched Hanging Up, an almost cartoonishly clichéd "woman's movie." Diane Keaton's direction of this mess is so incompetent that I hope she never stands behind a camera again. The movie fails on every level--it bored my wife and daughter (and it's only because I'm anal about finishing movies that I sat through 95 minutes of Hell; they went to bed).

This was Walter Matthau's last movie, and it hurts to see such a premiere talent being wasted (although his toupee looks as if it could live on). Meg Ryan appears to have lost weight for Hanging Up (if that's possible) and seems to be carrying the mass of the world on her shoulders, physically dissipating in front of our eyes while wearing one paper-thin muscle shirt after another. Looking scrawny and bra-less isn't appealing to anyone.

Okay, enough for the nastiness. This really is a waste of film stock. Whatever BIG messages it has about sibling rivalry and familial relationships and keeping your accident from your insurance company are lost in Keaton's attempt to play cute and/or sweet (the dog and the pill; the Iranian mom).

The movie's called Hanging Up. My suggestion is to take the phone off the hook before the opening credits.
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Didn't like it
ph_sorin25 December 2020
Unpopular opinion here, but some subjects don't make good movies. If you still want to make this gamble, you need to remember that movies are suppose to be, above all, entertaining. Not tedious, not frustrating, not annoying. Diane Keaton seems to have forgotten that.
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This is the most disappointing movie I have ever seen.
Rooster9926 February 2001
This movie is so awful I don't even know where to start ripping it apart. I am starting to think that the Ephron sisters simply had a fluke in "When Harry Met Sally". With the possible exception of "Sleepless in Seattle", their other films have been unmitigated disasters. This film is no exception. It is simply terrible. In fact it is worse than terrible, it is exceptionally frustrating. The story, without giving away any of the non-existent plot, centers around three sisters coping with their relationship with their father. They contact each other incessantly by cell phone, hence the title. Halfway through the film, you just want to grab their cell phones and smash them on the floor. They interrupt whatever they are doing to answer their phones, and there must be 100 calls answered during the 90 minute movie.

Meg Ryan is apparently trying to prove that she is a one-dimensional actress. She is, once again (ho-hum), playing the cutesy, bumbling, blond that earned her fame in When Harry Met Sally. This is a role that she plays over and over and over again, and it is downright boring now. Diane Keaton is supposed to be her sister, there are scenes with the 3 of them playing as youngsters. Diane Keaton is about 25 years older than Meg Ryan, without even mentioning Lisa Kudrow. Kudrow has of course, simply re-played her character from Friends.

Please avoid this movie at all costs. It is worse than John Travolta's incredibly bad "Battlefield Earth". It is even worse than the up-to-this-film, worst-movie-of-all-time "Next Friday". At least you could laugh at John Travolta and know that he had proven himself in other works. But "Hanging Up" will leave you seething with frustration and unfulfilled promise. I gave it a 1 out of 10. Truly awful.
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Why? Just why?
ItalianBombshell14 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Of all the movies that deal with the delicate subject of elder care and Alzheimer's diagnoses, this movie, by far realistically portrayed the struggle within the patient. Thanks to the incomparable skill of Walter Matheau. Everything from the tendency of the patient to wander, mistake people for others, fixate on objects that evoke memory, and the acerbic tone that melts into a questioning almost childlike tone when re-acclimated with reality. That, right there, was why I felt compelled to give the film 2 stars. The rest of the movie isn't worth a mention. I cannot believe that Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, and Lisa Kudrow could not deliver, together, what is directly in their wheelhouse, individually. Meg Ryan, hey, you're in your 50's. Time to stop trying to cash in on the cute, little blonde, girl next door. The scattered character she's trying to portray deserved better. And since we're at it, Diane Keaton, you're not all that either. I know the character called for self obsessed,driven, seemingly heartless wretch that you delivered, expertly. But, your direction was horrible. Lisa Kudrow couldn't shake the Phoebe curse. And, well, enough said. I know it was supposed to be heart-wrenching. It was supposed to be uplifting and empowering. All it was, unfortunately, was really long. The whole mess of the middle eastern physician and his mother, just complete nonsense. The big reveal of "what happened in the house" wasn't anything new. An alcoholic, early onset Alzheimer's behavior. It wasn't endearing us to Eve. It made me wonder why it took so long to get him placed in an ALF. Poorly dealt with, poorly acted (with the exception of Matheau),and incredibly poorly directed. Ambling, disconnected characters in a very long, disjointed film. That, at the end of the day, was really nothing more than a vanity project at the hands of Keaton.
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it all adds up to nothing
lrn791 August 2002
when this was released at the cinema I read that it wasn't very good, so I didn't see it. But when looking through the video store I decided to give it a go. Why? Well all the ingredients looked right. I like all the leads, Keaton as director sounded ok (surely she must have picked up something from Woody after all these years). I've liked all of Nora Ephron,s films to date, so what happened? When I saw that Keaton was playing the other's sisters I lol'ed and said "meg and lisa's mother more like". The film itself was really poor all round. Story, acting, directing and even continuity (how many times does meg have to put those roses in the vase?). I was bored basically

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Really Really Bad
maxmik12 February 2001
This movie should be required viewing in all film schools so future film makers will know what a truly bad movie is. It is excruciatingly bad from beginning to end. And make no mistake about it: this is a Meg Ryan movie. You can blame the director and the writer and everyone else involved - but Meg Ryan is in almost every scene & even though the movie is ostensibly about three sisters - it really is all about Meg. That could have been the title: All About Meg. She mugs, she screams (a lot) she pratfalls, she slobbers with the dog, she drives her family nuts, she wrecks the car, she stares into space wondering why her parents are separated - but mostly she is on the phone - hence the title Hanging Up. This is a movie that is meant to be deep & funny. It is not funny. It is not deep. It is very shrill. And it is very painful to watch. It is also very painful to listen to since it has one of the most horrible soundtracks ever. Finally, it is very painful to see Walter Matthau in what must be one of his last roles. It is so sad to think that this great actor ended up in a horrible mess like Hanging Up.
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Don't Overlook the Darkness
NRastro21 June 2002
I rented this movie (`Hanging Up') and I found it devastatingly effective.

At the center of the movie is Meg Ryan, whose movies I've not seen a lot. Her character, Eve, is really the fulcrum on which the whole movie balances. Much as her character's car is boxed in by a parking-garage accident early in the movie, I got the feeling that the movie was a meditation on whether her life is of her own choosing and making, or whether it is something she has largely been trapped into.

Part of the art of the movie is, I feel, that the character doesn't really know. This isn't made explicit in dialogue -– rather, you can see it in her face as she repeatedly goes through situations in her life. And in her reactions to those situations, you can see the many little waves of emotion sweeping over her, all vying for the upper hand. It's as if she's perpetually trying to find her place and regain her balance.

And this may be what some people who saw the movie and didn't like it don't see: at times, you wonder if she's really going to crack. An example is the brilliantly conceived set of characters represented by Eve's mother (in a brief appearance by Cloris Leachman) and Eve's husband (who has slightly more screen time). Each very clearly rejects Eve's father. But, in doing so, each of them places, perhaps unwittingly, a huge demand on her. For Eve, to live in the world that is dictated by others' expectations and reactions, whether reasonable or unreasonable, is to deny herself. And yet, the paradox is that, while her continued interactions with her father and sisters represent a possibly destructive degree of self-denial, in all the caring she dispenses to others, she is her best self. Her use of the phone is the clear metaphor for that – she can't stand to stay on it, and yet she can't stand to stay off of it.

Diane Keaton's direction is very impressive in the movie, in my opinion. The staging and editing are first rate, and really frame the story beautifully. Her acting performance in the film is a little awkward, but her ability as a director to really get the actors to play with a subtlety and spontaneity in their reactions to each other (particularly in scenes between Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow) is very skilled.

I think that if a viewer sees the movie as just a light comedy or a succession of gags, they have really missed the point of what Diane Keaton is trying to do. I find that hard to fathom, because Meg Ryan's central performance clearly is meant to showcase the character's essential emotional confusion, and I feel like the direction emphasizes this repeatedly. Maybe some viewers are distracted by Meg Ryan's beauty, which may have had the effect of setting up some distance between themselves and the character. It could be argued that Keaton allowed Ryan to be so well dressed, often in extremely flattering outfits of pastel colors, that it's hard to take seriously that the character could be an emotional mess. Eve may have inadvertently been robbed of some of the character's gravitas as a result.

I see a lot of darkness in Walter Matthau's character as well, but the affection between him and the Meg Ryan character is also very clear. Adam Arkin contributes a fine supporting performance in the movie as Eve's husband. His character could have easily been so blandly cast that it would have sunk right into the background, but he is a confrontational, yet gentle, force in Eve's life, and helps call the question as to whether Eve's life is in the state it's in by her own choice or not.

So, to sum up, I think that to dismiss `Hanging Up' as a heartwarming bauble is to miss a lot. The central character is a woman that is pulled and tugged in so many directions, all in the midst of a life that looks deceptively normal given her stresses, but is really one that remains hers to define. By the end of the movie, you can see in Ryan's expressions (and judge for yourself) the degree to which she has, or has not, come to a level of acceptance about her lot.
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Three Daughters who are survivors
bkoganbing19 October 2012
Hanging Up should be always referenced when someone says they don't write good roles for women any more. I haven't seen so many of them since Steel Magnolias. This film which was Walter Matthau's farewell performance has got three great ones among the roles of Matthau's estranged daughters.

Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, and Lisa Kudrow who represent three half generations of players are Matthau's daughters. And what impressed me most about them is that they are survivors if a bit self absorbed at times. They have to have been hardy souls to have survived the household they were raised in.

There are some people who are lovable curmudgeons, Walter Matthau's played a few on the screen himself. But this guy, former screenwriter now both retired and semi senile isn't one of them. He's also quite the alcoholic as is shown in one memorable birthday party and Meg Ryan's house with husband Adam Arkin giving him marching orders never to show up there again.

The title refers to Matthau in his dotage constantly calling them up to bother them about nonsense and the daughters patiently and sometimes not so patiently hanging up on him. Especially middle daughter Ryan who the burden of care provider fell on and she resents it.

All the women are successful in their own way, Keaton is a publisher of a magazine, Ryan is a party planner and the only married one, and Kudrow is an aspiring actress who just landed a gig on a soap opera. They're not truly involved with each other, my guess is they all learned to cope independently with crazy dad.

Now you ask where was mom? Mom is played by Cloris Leachman who put up with Matthau for way too long and one day just walked out. The problem is that she walked out on her daughters as well. Life was not kind to these women. And Cloris took all the wrong lessons as well from Matthau, she's more self absorbed than any of the others.

Hanging Up doesn't have much of a story line, but the creation of these character is great. Especially's Ryan's character who has the most screen time. And Matthau who was dying himself at the time was nothing short of fabulous.
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Excellent comedy that will make you laugh, cry, and feel good
Catherine_Grace_Zeh21 November 2005
HANGING UP, in my opinion, is an excellent comedy that will make you laugh, cry, and feel good. Despite the fact that he was a little crazy, I believe that Lou (Walter Matthau) was a funny guy. I especially loved him in the flashback to (Jesse James) fifth birthday party. If you want to know why, you'll have to see the movie for yourself. As far as I can see, due to the usage of the "f" word two or three times, this should have been rated R. Other than that, this was a great film. Seeing Eve (Meg Ryan), Georgia (Diane Keaton), and Maddy (Lisa Kudrow) was very touching. In conclusion, I highly recommend this excellent comedy that will make you laugh, cry, and feel good to any Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow, or Walter Matthau fan who hasn't seen it. You're in for a smashing good time, so go to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with a friend, and watch it.
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Unfunny Ladies
george.schmidt27 April 2004
HANGING UP (2000) *1/2 Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau, Adam Arkin, Cloris Leachman, Jesse James, Edie McClurg.

When did Nora Ephron lose her razor sharp comic bile and effervescent wit? I'd be hard pressed to guess at her debacle at directing the laugh free `Mixed Nuts' that made her directing debut practically inauspicious. Since then she has rehashed `When Harry Met Sally.' (one of my all time favorite comedies) AND `Sleepless In Seattle' (with 1998's `You've Got Mail' which was a rehash of `The Shop Around The Corner') and I've also noticed her comedy flair has gotten a nasty streak of meanness throughout. Her latest offering is a joint effort with her sister Delia (based on her autobiographical account of their colorful screenwriter father) that quite frankly is a mirthless, `dramedy' (a term I never wholeheartedly embraced; sounds freakish don't you think?) about three sisters approaching middle age and enough dysfunction for several sitcoms to trudge through.

Eve, Georgia and Maddy (Ryan, Keaton - who directed this mess, and Kudrow, respectively) are the squabbling sisters who all seem attached by some sort of metaphorical umbilical cord (i.e. the phone) who are at constant odds with each other and themselves in midst of a family crisis: their randy, colorful alcoholic screenwriter father Lou (the film's saving grace Matthau, who gives a heartfelt turn in a too-true-to-life interpretation of a life fully lived) whose mental decline is only preceded by his physical one: he's slowly dying.

But it seems that Eve, a professional party planner married with a son, is the only one who recognizes this in spite of her hectic pell mell existence and clumsiness (i.e. accident prone to a fault) she does the only reasonable alternative: she puts their dad in the hospital after an attempt in a nursing home that only offered disastrous results.

Georgia is a power hungry magazine magnate busy putting her self-congratulatory 5th anniversary edition of her eponymous zine to bed while her ditzy younger sis Maddy is trying to maintain a role on a soap opera with middling results.

The film suffers many things, largely a decent script with a peppering of listless one-liners that fall flat or the hackneyed long-in-the-tooth premise of a dying loved one's pleas for his children to love one another (a noble theme true but here it feels like pulling teeth with no ether!) The other sin in the golden rule of comedy is there is nothing likable about the `realistic' account of one family's attempt to deal with a crisis. All three sisters are sooo annoying and whining and ultimately uncaring that when they finally get together by the film's inevitable climax it feels contrived and completely unconvincing. Why should we care about any of these characters in the first place? They're all too wrapped up in their ME ME way of life that it's actually repulsive.

Matthau, with his basset hound's face in the comedy visage of Mount Rushmore, delivers a fine professional turn and I hate to say this but the fact he has been facing some hard times with his health only adds another layer to his role that raises the film a half star just for his casting.

There are so many unanswered questions I hope the three other stars may consider on their next feature film. For Ryan - who I absolutely adore except here she is given the thankless task of being the glue here - When are you going to do a comedy with your meant-to-be older sister/mother Goldie Hawn, who she seems to be channeling obviously in her one-too-many scenes with a behemoth St. Bernard (shades of `Seems Like Old Times'); for Keaton - who will forever be Annie Hall to me - When did you stop being funny? Perhaps the second `Father of the Bride' flick? And finally to Kudrow - who's always solidly funny - When oh when are you going to stretch again and do another character (i.e. `The Opposite of Sex' in which she was deliciously snippy) and not another variation of your classic airhead Phoebe from `Friends'? These unsolved mysteries are now at Robert Stack's disposal.
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Completely null
yevonwm11 May 2008
A completely pointless film. Its a case of where do I start!? Meg Ryan's character appears to sit in the house all day wearing full make up looking like a supermodel yet she's deeply distressed by her fathers illness so she pouts a little bit. Any humour Walter Matthau could have brought to the film was quickly dissipated by the lack of script and screen time for him. After watching this film I still don't understand what it's about, I see Lisa Kudrow, Meg Ryan & Dianne Keating all dressed up with no party to go to.

Whatever the writers were trying to convey didn't work and they managed to accomplish FAIL.
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Below Bottom Rung
UACW22 October 2005
That they made a television documentary on this is truly incredible. The suspicion has to be that Diane Keaton's ego is simply too big.

It seems every time Delia helps Nora, things fall apart. Look at what Nora's done on her own and then look at what she got help with from 'sis'. It will be hard for you to find a single movie Delia was on that was not an abject failure.

And if you thought First Wives Club was the most painful cinematic experience of your life, then you're ready for the ultimate pain: this one, miswritten by Delia Ephron from a book with the same name and misdirected by Diane Keaton.

Matthau and Ryan are best - no one cannot love Walter and no one's ever resisted Meg, and both are very good actors and they work very well together - as in IQ where they were both eminently memorable.

But nothing can save this garbage. Why studios allocate so much money to a project run by Diane Keaton? No one wants to hurt her feelings, but she doesn't worry much about hurting ours. Hers is a myopia where she just can't see how horrible she is at this game of movie making.

And the Annie Hall hat? Did she really have to?

Below bottom run on all counts.
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basic but amusing
EvilCuz21 October 2005
OK, so, a lot of people are saying that they were disappointed, that it looked funny but wasn't, that there was more drama than comedy etc etc etc. BUT, I just have to point out, this movie isn't just listed as a COMEDY but also as a DRAMA, therefore, it is to be expected that there is a fair bit of drama involved in this movie. Just a forewarning: if you don't like flashbacks, don't watch this flick, it's full of 'em! This movie really amused me, and if you get it on DVD, watch the cutouts! I laughed myself silly.. the cast of this movie is brilliant (even if you're like me, and aren't the biggest fan of Diane Keaton). You have Meg Ryan, with another of her light comedies, Lisa Kudrow with another ditzy roll (lol), Diane Keaton in a role I would expect her to play in a comedy/drama and Walter Matthau, who always puts in a very amusing performance.

It's a fun, light comedic/dramatic flick, full of flashbacks, with hilarious cutouts. I'd recommend it to anyone.. Have fun :-P
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A Terrible Film
gbheron3 January 2002
What baffles me about "Hanging Up" is why the Razzies ignored it, it should have swept. The movie is unfunny, undramatic, poorly scripted, and poorly acted. Just what were these usually competent women (and Mr. Mathau) thinking? Avoid.
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You'll hang up
sugar_daddyo16 November 2006
I can sit through most movies. Even 'B' movies that make you laugh from their sophomoric acting, plots, etc. offer more than this one. However, I could not finish Hanging Up.

So unfortunately even if I wanted to I couldn't spoil this one for you. That's right, I don't know how it ends. I don't know if dear ol' dad bought the farm or instead there was a surprise twist where dad walked into a gruesome scene where the three sisters had strangled each other with their phone cords. But even though I was ready to crawl through the TV and strangle them myself, I recognized that sanity was an eject button away.
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One word: Sucked!
Adriane27 January 2001
This movie had a promising story about 3 sisters and their old dad who is near the end., but it went way downhill fast. Lisa Kudrow sucked as usual, and Meg Ryan has been a lot better. Diane Keaton is a great actress too, but this one is not worth your time. Walter Mathau was one of my favorite actors, and it is too bad that this was his final film. Thank God we have got other great films to remember him by. Don't waste your time. Watch a better movie instead.
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