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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
149 of 152 people found the following review helpful
Makes a nice changeJune 28 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Ok, I've seen the low reviews for this movie. And if I could give it 31/2 stars I would. But what a nice change of pace it makes! It's a warm, intimate movie with a truly wonderful ensemble cast, a cute dog and a gorgeous setting. What's not to like? There are some subplots, but the gist of the movie is that Diane Keaton (Beth) and Kevin Kline (Joseph) are in an empty marriage. She rescues a wounded dog near the freeway, and he loses it on a walk while he's on his cell phone as usual, which brings their tension to a head. Diane Weist and Richard Jenkins, lovers whose relationship worries the others, help in the search, along with her son. The part gypsy housekeeper keeps pairing them up in certain ways and telling them her visions of what they are to search for, but what they are really seeking is to understand each other. And that is the heart of the movie. It is obviously geared for boomers (is that its great sin?), and has some humorous references to growing older which are easily relatable. If you're tired of comic book heroes, vampires, and grossout comedies, and want to see a gentle, feel-good little charmer, give it a chance. And thank you Lawrence Kasdan!
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
KASDAN STILL HAS THE TOUCHAug. 28 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
It's been 9 years since director Lawrence Kasdan put out a film, the last being DREAMCATCHER. More than that if you can remember the type of film he is best known for, an ensemble piece that captures the essence of what being human is all about. His classic THE BIG CHILL is but a forgotten memory to some and unknown to a new generation of movie goers. But Kasdan has always excelled at these ensemble pieces and it's nice to see him in true form with DARLING COMPANION.
Many will look at the box for this release and think it is nothing more than another animal picture. That does set the stage for this tale but it isn't the main ingredient. Diane Keaton plays Beth, the mother of one daughter Ellie (Lindsay Sloane) who's moved her family to New York and another Grace (Elisabeth Moss) who's in school. After dropping Ellie off at the airport while driving home, Beth tells Grace to stop the car on the freeway. There, they find a wounded and lost dog that they take home. While Beth's husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) insists the dog isn't staying time passes and it's a year later.
While the family has grown accustomed to the dog, now named Freeway, a new change is about to kick in. Grace is about to marry the veterinarian they took the dog to when they first found him. The wedding is in the family vacation home on Colorado and goes smoothly. New characters are introduced including Joseph's sister Penny (Dianne Wiest) and her new boyfriend Russell (Richard Jenkins) and housekeeper Carmen (Ayelet Zurer). They are the last remaining guests for the night after the wedding as well as Penny's son and Joseph's fellow back surgeon Bryan (Mark Duplas).
With the intent of staying just a few days it all changes when during Joseph loses Freeway while taking him for a walk. Having not taken along the dog's whistle and losing him while talking on his cell phone (something he does constantly), Beth blames him for the loss of the dog which has taken on an extreme amount of importance to her over the past year. Joseph thinks she's over reacting to the dog's loss and that he will come home. Beth thinks Joseph is unfeeling and just wants to ignore his personal responsibilities.
All hands join in in the search for Freeway. Things get a bit more interesting when Carmen reveals she is of gypsy descent and has the ability to "see things". Following the clues she offers them, each member of the group is paired off and the search goes forward. Along the way each of these characters gets to know the other a little better. Bryan gets to know Russell a bit more as he tries to decide if the man is just after his mother's pension in hopes of building a pub. Bryan and Carmen get close as well. Penny and Russell show that theirs is perhaps the closest relationship in the group. And Beth and Joseph are forced to look back at the choices they've made through the years and to discover that love that they once shared long ago. Has it died or was it simply misplaced over the years?
Kasdan has always done a great job with ensemble pieces like this. Both THE BIG CHILL and GRAND CANYON are works that bring together a cast of characters and have them intertwine throughout the story being told, coming together and moving apart, discovering who they really are and who the others around them are and finally realizing the things that are truly important to each of them.
Kids of the MTV generation that want answers and want them in five minutes will have a difficult time with this movie. There are no neat and tidy summations in the first 5 minutes or within the first hour of the film. Instead we watch the characters mingle back and forth until the end of the film when the search for Freeway ends either in his loss or discovery. But then to tell you what happens would be to create the worst spoiler ever.
Well made and well thought out, this film entertains from start to finish. And above all is some of the best acting around. Keaton remains a fantastic actress and looks amazing. Kline in his sixth film with Kasdan turns in an effortless performance. And the rest of the cast falls in line with these two leads to offer totally believable characters.
This is not an action film, a horror film or a teen comedy. This is a movie about real people with real problems who find themselves after having tucked away emotions and ideas for some period of time. As the characters reveal themselves so does the story. It's nice to see a film take the time to speak rather than rush everything.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
"CHARMING, HEARTWARMING, INTIMATE!"Aug. 18 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Beth and Joseph are in an empty marriage, along with an empty nest. Beth rescues a wounded dog near the highway, and develops a special bond with the dog. Her husband loses the dog, and Beth becomes distraught and upset as she forms a frantic search. In the process and unexpected,different people meet and various couples are in desperate need of healing. The intriguing story portrays relationships, love,and loss. Some are on the verge of divorce, others feel empty, and some are looking for soul-mates. Acting Performance of entire cast is Excellent, the story is heartfelt, and the movie entertains from start to finish. The adorable dog is an added attraction, and the setting is perfect. An enjoyable summer movie. Refreshing, and Highly Recommended!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Baby Boomers in CrisisDec 15 2012
Sydney L. Webb
- Published on Amazon.com
My husband I just watched this movie and loved it! We are the same age as the characters in the movie and we kept saying to one another, "We would say that" or "We would do that"! We both loved the low key story and the characters played out around a lost dog. It was life on the screen. For those that criticize this film, they must be much younger than we are! This is a great date night movie for adults!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"In This Circumstance We Are Authorized To Put The Animal Down" - (I-70) Police OfficerJune 23 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
This highly appealing ensemble cast, all interacting with each other, brings me back to writer-director Lawrence Kasdan's "The Big Chill". It was while viewing that film that I first fell in love with this type of movie, along with the personal stamp he adds to it. Bring out the 'baby boomers' ...
Beth Winter (Diane Keaton) and her daughter Grace discover a wounded dog along the freeway and quickly stop getting it help. After learning that the Animal Control Dept. would only "put him down", the two women are upset and take him on to the vet. Of course, Beth does end up taking the 7 yr old dog home and naming him "Freeway" immediately ... At first, her husband, Joseph (Kevin Kline), balks at the idea then slowly complies realizing his wife's obvious attachment.
"The Thing Called Love" (Bonnie Raitt) plays out from the soundtrack as the family starts to fall in love with Freeway and meshes with their new pet. The movie quickly skips ahead one year to the couple's vacation home in Colorado. Their daughter marries the vet that got Freeway back into shape and a whole cast of interesting characters enters the scene. The scenery in Colorado is gorgeous, lush, and colorful. Photography (Michael McDonough) of this beautiful area could not be better represented. Everything to the slightest detail comes alive and breathes life into the couples that stay behind at their home after the wedding day.
Joseph's sister, Penny (Dianne Wiest), brings along her new love interest, Russell (Richard Jenkins). Along with them is her son Bryan (Mark Duplass), a fellow surgeon along with Joseph. A very intuitive person added to the cast is the insightful caretaker of the vacation home, Carmen (Ayelet Zurer - "Hide Away"). Shortly after everyone is there, Joseph unintentionally loses Freeway while taking him out on a walk. The entire group gets together, in many ways, and outsources to find the dog. The sheriff (Sam Shepard) of the town is also sought out to help and adds his own regional flavor to the search party.
This is a simple set up for this plot, as the movie does stay relatively uncomplicated and that is exactly why I liked it so well. There are several other interests like the couple's now 'empty-nest' marriage which has become too ordinary for them. It is obvious that Beth and Joseph love each other very much after all these years and need a new connection for themselves as a couple. Some focus is unto the subplots if you will, although the major portion of the movie is concentrated on finding this dog and a soul seeking quest to return him home. Beth is so emotionally tied to Freeway and is heartbroken by him being lost. Their relationship represents so many things about her life in a much fuller sense.
The people all taking stake in getting Freeway returned are also taking their own personal journeys at this time in their lives. Full of self-reflection, this is a highly emotional story in parts. One that doesn't beg its own attention and also any animal lover would appreciate this lovely story. Done with nothing offensive; I think that this would make an age-appropriate 'family movie' ... Personally, I loved it!