Darling Companion (2012)
User ReviewsReview this title
I was squirming in my seat faster than they could say "I do." But then something funny happened on the way to the wedding. The boring romantic comedy angle was already wrapped up and they dropped the beleaguered jokes comparing man to dog. And then the film became a fairly simple but enjoyable treatise on the relationships and world views of a handful of family members and close friends.
To me, the movie starts when Beth (Diane Keaton)'s dog goes missing. Her husband, Joseph (Kevin Kline), lost it, but he doesn't care. He only likes his money and telling people that he's a doctor. But his practice is just going to have to wait because she's not going home until they find Freeway (the beautiful Collie-mix Kasey). She is helped by Carmen, an exotic sex-goddess who freely admits that she's a psychic gypsy blessed with receiving images of the lost dog. Nephew Brian (Mark Duplass) likes Carmen; he does not like his future step-father Russell (Richard Jenkins). Russell pretty much likes everyone and everything. Joseph doesn't like the dog and he especially doesn't like alleged gypsy psychics leading his family on wild goose chases.
The older members of the audience were laughing first, but eventually a little bit of humour in the form of funny lines came through. Kevin Kline was hilarious as the irritable elitist insulting hippie ideals and alleged gypsy psychics. The dialogue was quick, astute and savvy in navigating all the characters towards happiness in their relationships.
If you can equate the search for the missing dog as a mystery, then it would be worth comparing this film to Woody Allen's "Manhattan Murder Mystery" (1993). A delightful discussion on relationships set to a mystery plot. It doesn't hurt that the cast includes a couple of Allen regulars (Keaton and Dianne Wiest).
It takes awhile to realize that this is not a dull romantic comedy, but if you're looking for a mature, heart-warming relationship dramedy, "Darling Companion" eventually finds its way.
Substories and romantic interludes, marriage problems, but also the absurd (superstituous) are being handled decently. It still might feel a bit too much for some viewers though. Kline just about holds his own in a very slim outlined character outlet, that he has to work with. Clichés abound and an ending that is so over the top (literally), that you'll probably cry (for better or worse).
Go to see this movie now... don't wait.. run don't walk.. and see it over and over and over again....oh, bring a few tissues...
Will movies never cease to amaze me? How could the creativity behind the pleasing ensemble film Grand Canyon, Lawrence Kasdan and his wife, Meg, be responsible for the insipid drama, Darling Companion?
A lost dog? The hunt curing and binding the principle couples? Please!! Only surgeons, veterinarians, and their wives could have the time and resources to stay at a Colorado lodge to look for a lost dog. Of course, the dog is just the metaphor for the lost romance, to be found, of the couples, mostly Beth (Diane Keaton) and Joseph (Kevin Kline).
It's difficult to describe how banal their interaction is, especially since Keaton overacts, flailing her arms at emotional moments, and Kline appears to wish he hadn't made this movie with his lines appropriate for a high school world premier.
But then, Sam Shepherd, the world-class playwright, has to endure his thankless role as the curmudgeonly sheriff, and Diane Weist can only showcase her world-class cheekbones. Richard Jenkins as her silly love interest, well, he's had a whole lot better than his comic-relief buffoon.
But then the writing Kasdans didn't have to worry about crafting each line since it seems every other line is a scream calling for lost dog, Freeway. When the most conflict you'll get is Joseph's enslavement to his cell, you have an idea that there are no new ideas. I suggest the real conflict is Beth's over dramatizing, which Joseph calls her on.
Once again a film relies on the faded glory of its Hollywood royalty to tell a silly tale about older folk. I'm thinking I might enjoy the second edition of The Expendables, whose 65-year-old Sylvester Stallone is a has been, knows it, and makes no pretense about making a warm and fuzzy film.
Become a fan of The Lowedown on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Lowedown/386583633764
Genre: 6 Movie: 6
What's it about?
Beth (Diane Keaton) saves a bedraggled lost dog from the side of the freeway on a wintry day in Denver. Struggling with her distracted, self-involved husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) and an empty nest at home, Beth forms a special bond with the rescued animal.
What did I think?
Not the fastest moving film ever made, but it was a nice touching story. It seems to be all about this stray dog, when in fact it was about a family healing itself through an outside source. This movie is worth the rental, if you are in the mood for a quiet film with a good family element.
Diane Keaton pulls out all the stops as the wife of spinal surgeon, Kevin Kline, mature and excellent in the part. She finds a dog on a highway with her daughter, the latter quickly marries the vet they bring the dog to.
The film is about human relations among the family. Dianne Wiest is also very good as Kline's sister, with her new boyfriend and son, also a doctor, all attending the daughter's wedding.
The film then becomes one of searching for the dog who goes lost. Everyone seems to reveal their inner selves and it becomes a fascinating character study.
The story centers around a rescued dog. The dog goes missing and everyone gets off the personal roller-coaster of their lives to try to find him. And that's when the lessons begin.
The dog in this movie makes you want to rush out to adopt all homeless dogs. I don't know where they got him, but he is filmed from all the right angles. He isn't shot in close-ups like Lassie, but shown as part of a family's world in the way that dogs often come to be—the glue that holds everything together. I love the dog, whose real name is not in this review because after searching the Net for quite some time, I just couldn't find it. It should be in the cast list, but it's not. I'm just saying.
The film is written by Lawrence Kasdan, whom we all remember from The Bill Chill. So apparently, in real life, Kasdan and his family adopted a dog and then lost him in the Rockies, where they extended their vacation three weeks until they found him. Darling Companion is based on that experience. It's like his famous Big Chill in that the plot is less important than the relationships between the characters. I like that about his films, and Darling Companion has that same rewarding interaction among its characters, which brings it all together. The husband and wife. The mother and daughter. The sister and brother. The mother and son. Is Kasdan the only writer/director who does that? Is he the only one who gives us one-on-one interactions in the context of a plot that really isn't all that important? Was there any resolution to the question of why Alex killed himself in The Big Chill? Where was the dog all those days he was missing in Darling Companion, and did anyone care?
Sidebar. Can I mention here that the best part of The Big Chill was the music? We can all agree on that right?
So here is a list of what you can take away from this movie: Dealing with a difficult mom; loving and hating your significant other at the same time; not caring what others think of you and being you anyway; making choices based on what feels good rather than what looks good; turning a car around, even on the highway, if you think you see something you should not turn away from.
That's worth ten dollars right?
Driving back home with her daughter from the airport,Beth notices a dog by the freeway.Getting out of the car with her daughter Grace,Beth finds no sign of any owners for the dog.Contacting a vet and the police,Beth & Grace find out that due to the dogs age,it will have to be put down,unless they decide to adopt it. Adopting the dog (who they name Freeway) Grace finds herself agreeing to go on a date with the vet.
Getting married to the vet,Grace waves goodbye to Beth and her husband Joseph,and sets off on her honeymoon,with the last thing that Grace does being to promise Freeway that she will be back soon.After seeing their daughter get married at the location,Beth and Joseph decide to spend some time round the Rockies before they head home.Taking Freeway for a walk,Joseph suddenly receives an important business call.After taking the call,Joseph is horrified to discover that Freeway has run off.Giving Beth the bad news,Joseph and Beth start to search for Freeway,in the hope of finding the dog before Grace returns from her honeymoon.
View on the film:
Whilst the film got battered at the box office, (where it made $700,000,on a budget of 12 million!) the screenplay (partly inspired by the writers losing their own dog) by co-writer/ (along with his wife Meg) director Lawrence Kasdan has a warm folk charm,with Beth and Joseph (played by a joyful Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline)search for Freeway having a really dry sense of humour. Emphasising the movies folk notes,Kasdan smartly keeps the title largely outdoors,which allows for the film to soak up the lush Rockies location,as Beth and Joseph search along the freeway.
I'm not sure if the stakes are high enough here. It's a bunch of family members with minor issues looking for a dog. It's not like the audience grows to love the dog. It's more of an excuse for each family member to work out their issues. Lawrence Kasdan and his wife have created the lightest and mildest of family drama. The great cast of actor showed up to play but the writing is not up to the task.
It further deteriorated to the point where I found myself thinking what the !?! is this and unplugged the headphones. I enjoyed silence for the rest of the 3 hour flight. I wish that I had the Harbor Freight tool catalog that rubitony had. Menopause Melodrama gets my vote for title.
I will say that Freeway the dog did a great job. He was right on cue and did not overact.
Playing simple and with some predictability, "Darling Companion" is about a housewife (Diane Keaton) desperate in finding her beloved dog Freeway, lost by her husband (Kevin Kline), who doesn't seem to care much about the new member of the family and end up losing the poor animal while talking on the phone. In case you didn't got the name, the dog was found on a freeway almost freezing to death.
It all happened after their daughter's wedding with the veterinary who treated of Freeway a year ago. So, these people from the city are now stranded in the countryside looking for the dog with the help of another members of the family (Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins) and a sort of gypsy/psychic (Ayelet Zurer) who has blurred and foggy visions of Freeway and the place it might have been. The real purpose of the movie is not only finding who's lost but also finding what is lost and that is the human relations between the main couple, always on a verge of the crisis even with the picture of being the perfect family where the husband is too focused on his career as a doctor and the wife is too concerned of being away from her grown up daughters, and of not being loved enough by her man, and now where's the dog, of whom she loves with more enthusiasm than his real partner.
More like a couple's retreat kind of flick, this is a very warming project, very light and with some funny moments. It's far more interesting to see this project of life where all the confusion of a relationship is solved during a particular event than seeing some ridiculous romantic comedy that tends to present perfect lives all around. Despite the difference in the way it treats its issues, far from being those corny rom-coms "Darling Companion" isn't all that much of a mature screenplay though. I think it should have more focus on the couple's background rather than seeing Keaton crying for whatever reasons, focus on some of their pre-existent marital problems. It's just too level. And there's a beautiful yet pointless animated sequence involving the dog's point of view that really takes you out of the movie.
If the story sounds silly, just see it for the actors. Kline is good, Keaton has one of the most decent films of the past 10 years ("The Family Stone" was a disaster next to this and I bet the ratings might be even higher than this) but if this worths a real good view is because of Wiest and Jenkins playing an older couple that has many things to teach everyone around. They're so lovable and charming together, and he's hilarious in the movie. And there's an almost wasted appearance by Sam Shepard playing a sick sheriff. But once again, they're not at their greatest level of acting. That's what killed the enjoyment for viewers, they expected too much of a movie that was proposed to give so few.
The Kasdan couple worked better with the accidents of life in the outstanding "Grand Canyon". In that, miraculous events in the chaotic and stressful day-by-day routine saved people's lives and showed them new ways to connect with someone in the abyss that separates everything and everyone yet they're so close to each other. In "Longtime Companion" it was all about loving more your animal than the person whom you spend your life with, or care less about the faithful animal for reasons unknown, just thinking about himself. A sign of times represented in both films by the same creators. When did we become so egoistical and stopped looking at what's around us? When did our values become so shrunken? Maybe that's the reason people despised the new Kasdan. I liked but I wanted so much more...8/10
All this talent wasted on a completely predictable plot ["We're getting older!!!" Unhappily they're not doing that in an interesting way, either]. It was not even funny, ever, except for one line. We kept watching it, hoping it would get better. It never did. The Kevin Kline character was a believable a$$hole who we are then supposed to believe does a complete 180 because after twenty-five years his wife's nagging suddenly takes effect. Um, no.
I wished something interesting would happen: that the younger doctor would maybe refuse to return to the big city because he falls in love across class lines and is not as attached to his place of residence as his love object is attached to her small town, or that the Diane Keaton character, instead of her daughter, would run off with the young veterinarian -- stranger things have happened -- but no such luck.
I personally find macho guy flicks pretty boring equally improbable.....but at least I understand why they are made.
I have never seen a movie where I so completely disliked everyone one in it finding them all annoying and unreal.
I didn't even like the dog!
I saw the low reviews and saw the two Dianes and Kevin....they always make great movies...except this one.
Fast forward to their Colorado home & Daughter's wedding to Vet...Dad walks dog, dog runs off, Mom starts airing dirty laundry about their marriage.
Dad even interrupts local sheriff on his day off, with the 'emergency' of lost dog. Throw in some sort of Gypsy seer, meaningless shots of scenery & various & actors/actresses....blah blah...
Could not take one more minute. Haven't the slightest curiosity in ending (predictable I am sure). Just another tale of out-of-touch 1%'ers and their tales of woe, not even well done. Not one bit of empathy with any characters, no depths exposed in any relationships, one total waste of time.
Oh, and for the dog lovers out there: If dog was paid by the minute, small check was cut.
One of the highlights of the film is the scenery and photography. Autumn in southwestern Colorado! But, of course, we're not watching it for those reasons. That's just a bonus.
Girl meets dog. Boy loses dog. Marriage in a shambles. That's the crux of the story.
It's the performances that make the difference. And these are not great performances. But they're kinda real. I'm more sympathetic to the husband than most of our reviewers. He's a surgeon, and I'm getting ready to have surgery in about 10 days. I want my surgeon to be thinking exclusively of me that morning...not worrying about a lost dog. Now that's not to say that the doctor has been a great husband; clearly he takes his marriage for granted. Kevin Kline does fine here, although this is certainly not his best role..by far.
This is probably the most different role I've ever seen Diane Keaton in...as the wife of the surgeon...struggling in a somewhat lifeless marriage who rediscovers her love in a rather odd set of circumstances...partially lost in the rain in the woods and resetting her husband's dislocated shoulder.
Richard Jenkins is a much underrated actor, probably because he's far from handsome and thus, not the movie-star type. But he fairly consistently turns in fine performances, and while this is not a "great" role, he subtly fine tunes his performance.
The rest of the performances are fine, but not notable. Even Diane Weist, who is usually so good, just sort of gets by here in a part that relegates her to a comparatively minor role. The Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer has a somewhat interesting role as a modern-day gypsy.
You're not going to walk away from this film saying how great it was. But I think you may enjoy a quiet little movie with some realism in it.
It all gets annoying when they spend days and get injured looking for the dog. Diane's character seems insanely attached to the dog for no real reason risking her and her husband's life and getting him injured.
Starts off with Woody Allen potential and ends in just a pile of doggie doo.
Don't waste your time. It deserved to flop.
The story unfolds like you are pulling teeth! Diane Keaton is just plain weird here and Kevin Kline looks lost and confused throughout.
Story - Beth finds a dog along a snow covered freeway. Risk her life to get dog. Dog becomes pet. One year later daughter married veterinarian that doctored frozen dog. Dog runs away (that should have been a hint to viewers). All that happens in first 20 minutes of movie! Now you have 83 more minutes to watch a bunch of actors run around in woods looking for dog - it rains, it's cold, they are stupid.
If there is an example of 'actors doing it for the money' this is it! Good luck watching .... this movie is bad medicine.