SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE

Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson falling in love under Nancy Meyers’ direction. Can it get much better than? The woman behind hits like It’s Complicated (2009) and The Holiday (2006) adds yet another glittering jewel to her heavy crown with this classy and intelectually satisfying romcom about finding love at different ages.

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“Family” dinner: Frances McDormand, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Amanda Peet

The Hamptons. Early 2000s. Heartthrob and rap label owner Harry Sanborn (Nicholson) arrives at the marvelous home the mother of his young girlfriend Marin (Peet) owns on the coast. With a “promising” weekend ahead, everything gets tricky when he has a heart attack and her job auctioning at Christie’s forces her mother, acclaimed playwright Erica Barry (Keaton), to reluctantly take care of him. Harry and Erica couln’t be any more different: following quite the Hakuna Matata mantra, he only dates younger women between scotches and expensive cigars, whereas she wears turtlenecks in summer and can’t wrap her head around anything outside her comfort zone.

But familiarity makes the heart grow fonder, and his continuous questioning of all she does, sees Erica starting to find Harry amusing, and suddenly interesting. Interest she’ll somehow feel hesitant about when Julian Mercer, Harry’s middle-aged doctor and huge fan of hers, openly declares his admiration. However, as confused as we might expect the longtime divorcée to be upon finding two men at once, the proximity in age draws her to Harry. But Harry is a self-described “old dog” who has never operated further than the end of the night, and when they realize it’s getting serious, he backs off and unintentionally triggers a double heartbreak. Sending her in the big-hearted and dazzled Julian’s direction, Erica seemingly embodies Nora Ephron and writes a Broadway hit (A Woman to Love) based upon her affair with Harry – butt stuntmen for the hospital scene included – that will be the first step to eventually bring them back together.

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Erica and Harry arrange a “pajama party” via chat

Gifting us along the way with razor-sharp, Nany Meyers signature lines like “Erica, you are a woman to love,” “Try not to rate my answer,” “Words have been invented to describe women like you, [such as] flinty [and] impervious,” or “I don’t know if it ends in a ‘ya’ if it’s a true ‘I love you’,” the writing is absolutely irresistible, inventive, spot-on and illustrative of what a good romantic comedy can and should be. The idiolects are marvelously captured in a way that makes the characters relatable, thridimensional and in a perfect world, our best friends. Plus and much like in Streep and Baldwin-starred It’s Complicated, this movie is unafraid to delve into both the magical and bleak aspects of romance without ever settling on either.

The cast is practically unsurpassed, with Diane Keaton receiving a Golden Globe and both SAG and Oscar nominations. Jack Nicholson shines, arguably playing a version of himself that confers a disarming intelligence and likability to the character. For their part, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet and Frances McDormand as Erica’s love interest, daugher and sister, prove great supporting characters that generously accomodate to reinforce the plausibility of the whole production.

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Sanborn and Barry enjoy a wine and cherries picnic by the ocean

And finally, the house. Oh my God the house. When Googling “Something’s Gotta Give,” the first suggested search is “house.” And not surprisingly, because any fan of Nancy’s recognizes her signature, off-the-chart fabulous scenarios: spacious kitchens, living rooms full of books, enviable studios and all around perfect homes by the coast. All in beiges, whites, very pale browns and greys. The essence of her movies can only be done justice using the world “classy” – the words, the music, the color range, the setting… to the point where, as a whole, they’ve become an instant part of the films’ identity. Entertainment Weekly called Nancy’s features “a cream-toned, cashmere-swaddled universe unto itself.”

In short, I cannot recommend highly enough this exquisite and lovely movie. It’s a neck massage with vanilla candles for grown ups with good taste. Whip-smart, well-crafted, terrifically acted and… The. House.

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Erica’s studio, full of beiges, greys and creams

Running time: 2h 8 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: December 13, 2003.

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures

Budget: $80M

Box office: $266M

Grade: A++

All images are taken from Google.

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