The best scene in this Diane Keaton-directed film has drunken dadWalter Matthau showing up at a kid's birthday party bellowing andvulgar, but it doesn't belong in a comedy. It's more like something outof "Shoot The Moon", which Keaton starred in, and would fit much betterin a film with a darker tone. "Hanging Up" wobbles around in search ofappropriate emotions, but Keaton just can't get a consistent rhythmgoing. Her performance as the eldest of three unhappy sisters is alsowan (she's winging it), however Meg Ryan as the middle sister has somefabulous moments: she hugs a coffee machine, she tries to convince herhusband that driving a wrecked truck is going to work for her, shetells off her father but cries because she loves him. This is aperformance well worth watching, but the picture definitely needed adirector with a tighter grip on the reins. **1/2 from ****
My main motivation for renting this movie was to see Walter Matthau's finalperformance. Matthau was one of our most talented, all-around actors. Itwas sad to see him go, but his performance in this movie was a fineconclusion to his thriving career. I don't think he could've picked abetter final role to play. And being that Matthau played a dying father, itwas even more heartbreaking to watch. I didn't break into tears any timeduring the movie, but I came close to it quite a few times. First off, "Hanging Up" was pretty much marketed as a comedy. A fluffyromantic 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 comicrelief. Overall, this is a sad, touching story that should hit home to manypeople who've had--or have--severed communications with their siblings orparents. I personally don't experience that in my family, but I know manywho do. The father-daughter relationship, especially between Meg Ryan andMatthau, is brutally realistic. It's very touching to see how the two ofthem stick with each other through thick and thin, even through Dad's messyalcoholic rages. The other two sisters, Lisa Kudrow and Diane Keaton, havegrown distant from their sick, elderly father with Alstheimer's Disease. While Ryan uses every ounce of her free time to visit her Dad in thehospital, the other sisters use their work as an excuse for never findingtime. 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 liferelationships of the Ephron sisters (who wrote the screenplay). Of course,there's some witty dialogue and situations that were obviously thrown in forentertainment purposes, but it's all based on real life. Truth can bestranger than fiction. Besides, I wasn't once doubting the plausibility ofthe film. Maybe it's because I was so indulged in the characters and thespirited performances, but whatever it was--it worked. I have to say, I never thought Meg Ryan looked really attractive, before Isaw her in "You've Got Mail." I liked her "When Harry Met Sally..." andsome of her past movies, but she just had a conservative, housewifeyappearance that never really did anything for me. Now she looks soooooooocute with her straight blonde hair. Every minute she was on screen I justwanted to run up to the screen and kiss her! And may I say, she has a smileto die for. Walter Matthau is both entertaining and touching in an understatedperformance that he should be remembered for, not just because it was hislast performance (Hell, I loved John Candy, but I'm not going to say hisperformance in "Wagon's East" was the greatest), but because it was abrilliant one. Not only does he make the funniest, sometimes vulgar andoff-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 feelthe sisters' pain when (in a flashback) Matthau barges into his grandson'sbirthday party, completely drunk, yelling obscenities, humiliating everyoneand finally destroying the party altogether and causing the kids to cry, butyou also feel his pain when his daughter's husband (Adam Arkin) chases himout of the house and wants to make sure that he never sets foot in the houseagain. "Hanging Up" has everything you can possibly want in a film: humor,romance, sentiment, drama, moments of truth. Yet it's not delivered in aschmaltzy, "Lifetime" Movie of the Week format. And you leave with a goodfeeling in your heart. I definitely recommend this movie, especially sinceit reached a very scant audience in theaters. Just make sure you have thephone numbers of your sisters or fathers handy, because you're definitelygonna want to give them a call afterwards!My score: 7 (out of 10)
Some very good performances help this otherwise forgettable film about therelationship between the three daughters (played by Diane Keaton, Meg Ryanand Lisa Kudrow), of a dying man (Walter Matthau.) There isn't anythingparticularly noteworthy about the story itself. Told largely in flashbackstyle, we see how the father-daughter relationship evolved over the yearsfrom a happy, loving one through the breakup of the parents and into thelast days before Lou's death. The movie features fairly typical scenarios ofthe types of things that might cause family breakdowns (divorce, alcoholism,sibling rivalry, etc.) There are some humourous moments, but all in all Ifound myself largely disappointed by the story.As I mentioned, though, there were some good performances which lifted thisfrom a bad one to the ranks of mediocre to average. Meg Ryan wasparticularly good as Eve, the daughter who bears most of the responsibilityfor caring for Lou. She's guilty of a bit of overacting at times, but isdefinitely worthy of the leading role. Walter Matthau played Lou very well -but, of course, he should have been accustomed to playing crotchety old menby that point in his career. There were some surprise performances as well.Lisa Kudrow demonstrated more acting ability than I expected from her basedon having watched "Friends" a few times, and, in a very limited role, DukeMoosekian was really quite funny as Dr. Omar Kunundar, whose car Eve managesto damage in a car accident. On the negative side, I was also surprised bywhat I thought was a very below average performance by Diane Keaton (whoalso directed, and who, in my opinion, showed no great talent as adirector.) She simply began to grate after a while.The best word I can come up with to describe this movie is bittersweet, bothin the story of how a seemingly happy family turned out to be so consumed inanger and jealousy, and in the sense that the movie had possibilities,particularly in the strong performances I mentioned, that just didn't seemto add up to anything. Generously, I rated this as a 5/10.
Touchy subject matter is a slap to the face for the way many people treattheir dying senile parents,thus causing the typical masses to under ratethis film.Too much reality for mainstream taste.But for those few who haveMATURE INTELLECT,this film truly delivers.Heartwarming and bitter at thesame time,it shows us that we have to try our best to give time to oursenile parents no matter how close you were in the past.It also shows usthat we must also learn to cut off some things from our lives in times ofstress in order to deal with priorities.We must learn to compromise andprioritise carefully to lessen regrets.Well acted and directd film despiteit's lack of story.Only for fans of drama and dark comedy who understandlife.....
OK, so, a lot of people are saying that they were disappointed, that itlooked funny but wasn't, that there was more drama than comedy etc etcetc. BUT, I just have to point out, this movie isn't just listed as aCOMEDY but also as a DRAMA, therefore, it is to be expected that thereis a fair bit of drama involved in this movie. Just a forewarning: ifyou 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 thecutouts! 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 withanother ditzy roll (lol), Diane Keaton in a role I would expect her toplay in a comedy/drama and Walter Matthau, who always puts in a veryamusing performance.It's a fun, light comedic/dramatic flick, full of flashbacks, withhilarious cutouts. I'd recommend it to anyone.. Have fun :-P