Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2015. Two Flints, Jeff Rice Films, Northern Lights Films. Screenplay by Marc Basch, Brett Haley. Cinematography by Rob Givens. Produced by Rebecca Green, Brett Haley, Laura D. Smith. Music by Keegan DeWitt. Production Design by Eric J. Archer. Costume Design by Mirren Gordon-Crozier. Film Editing by David Dean, Brett Haley.
Blythe Danner wakes up to find her dog ill beyond saving and has to put it down, plunging her into a loneliness that brings back the pain of her losing her husband many years earlier. Her best friends encourage her to move into their retirement community but she insists on staying on her own despite the fact that she is being bothered by a rat she spotted in her kitchen. She strikes up a friendship with her pool cleaner (a charming Martin Starr) but has her head turned when a handsome gentleman (Sam Elliott, still the rough diamond) asks her out on a date. Conversations breeze by and laughs are had with her girlfriends, every scene in this elegant film an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful cast. Even watching Danner and her gal pals (Mary Kay Place, Rhea Perlman and June Squibb) get high and go grocery shopping for jun kfood is an exercise in delight that avoids the kind of eye-winking “Aren’t Old Ladies” cute stereotypes that date back to the Sound of Music nuns stealing a carburetor. The problem is that despite how beautiful everything looks, and how subtly smooth Danner is, the film turns on mild realizations and very little conflict. Growing older and becoming adept at constant change, frequent loss and temporary pleasures is a great subject to explore, but director Brett Haley lets both his character and audience off too easy when it comes to learning these things.