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Movie Review

Hanging Up

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and some sex-related material

Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Comedy/Drama
Length:
1 hr. 26 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
The Sisters in “Hanging Up”
Featuring: Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau, Adam Arkin
Director: Diane Keaton
Producer: Laurence Mark, Nora Ephron
Distributor: Columbia Tristar

“Hanging Up” is the story of an ailing father (Walter Matthau) and his three daughters (Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, and Lisa Kudrow), each forced to deal with the problems and frustrations of a difficult family situation. Eve (Ryan), the middle of the three, tells the story from her perspective. She is the one who sees to it that her father Lou (who is experiencing memory loss and other health problems) gets the medical care he needs. Sisters Georgia (Keaton) and Maddy (Kurdrow) are too self-absorbed to worry about anything but themselves, and have their dumped responsibility for their father’s welfare onto Eve.

Walter Matthau with two daughters in “Hanging Up” The story uses many flashbacks to describe the constant communication problems between the siblings and their relationship to their father. There are several points in “Hanging Up” that were simply not fleshed out properly in the script. Although Eve is Lou’s main caretaker, her father gives the impression that Georgia, who never spends time with him, is his favorite. Eve and Maddy are resentful of their selfish, older sister, but the story never goes more into detail about why they feel this way. None of the siblings are close to their mother (Cloris Leachman), who explains in one brief scene that she never liked motherhood. It is never fully explained why Lou and his wife got divorced.

Matthau plays one of his usual grouches, a role in which he always excels. Diane Keaton has some good moments as the oldest sister who makes no apologies for wanting everything to revolve around her.

There are no explicit sex scenes, though the sisters do walk in on their father as he is in bed with a woman. No nudity is shown, however. Lou makes a few sexual comments, and foul language is used during the more heated arguments among the characters. In the end, not much else is known about these characters, other than what is seen on the surface. The result is a bland movie.


Viewer Comments
…this was a wonderful movie. If you go in expecting a comedy then you will be surprised. This is more like a drama. It was a good drama though. Bring some tissues. Meg Ryan did a wonderful job as usual. The movie is a great movie to see with your sister(s) or mom. I loved it!
—Tiffany, age 15
This movie is very entertaining. I see that the reviewer says it is a bland movie which is not at all true. The movie does have cussing only in the “heated” scenes. There are 2 uses of f**k, 6 or less b*****d, along with s**t, b***h and the Lord’s name in vain. I also would like to point out that there is a scene where Meg Ryan is shown wearing a VERY see-through tank top, I thought during the movie why have anything on at all! Aside from this and other disclaimers the movie is enjoyable for 16 and up. My Ratings: [3/4½]
—Catalina Moore, age 26
Not even an excellent cast could save this movie. Boring, and too annoying to sleep through. The bad is bad and the good is bad. Skip it, I’d rather sit through “White Christmas” for the ten-thousandth time in mid-July than see “Hanging Up” again. My Ratings: [2/1]
—JK Perry, age 29
For people who have not experienced the trials which this film so exquisitely deals with I can understand the lack of appreciation. But for those of us who daily live with the pain of broken homes, drunken parents, unfairly distributed sibling responsibilities and, as the Persian Mother puts it… A father who is always in an uproar and the overburden of ones courage and grief… It is a gem, a gift, a heart-to-heart healing of a movie which reminds us that when others besides Our Heavenly Father rule our lives then it is time to Hang Up. Go for yourself. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Jane Bonner, age 49
See this movie only if you want to go spiritually slumming. This movie examines the life of a dysfunctional family trying to make it totally without the Lord and His laws. While there is no gut spilling, blood wrenching violence and no overtly displayed sex, every commandment is broken: 1. “You shall have no other gods before me.” The only god this family had was the “god of self.” 2. “You shall not make for yourself an idol.” The idols for this family consisted of career, power, fame, alcohol, self-needs, self-interest, and the dysfunctional family itself. 3. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.” I did not count, but I believe it would take more than two hands to count the total number of times the Lord’s name was used in vain by the father, the daughter, and the five year old grandson. 4. “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” This family did not know the Lord and observed no holy moment with Him. 5. “Honor your father and your mother.” One daughter did honor her father, but these parents did not deserve to be honored. The mother left the family physically and emotionally. The mother’s reply to a daughter’s request to return was that motherhood just didn’t take. 6. “You shall not murder.” The dad tried to commit suicide. 7. “You shall not commit adultery.” There is a scene where the daughters find the dad in bed with a dental hygienist from their childhood. 8. “You shall not steal.” One daughter steals then uses in her magazine and speech the “life-material” (the emotions, concerns for a dying father, and even a recipe) of the one daughter who cares about the family. 9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” To avoid having her insurance rates go up, when a daughter backs her vehicle into another car, she suggests that they settle it “privately” and not report it. 10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” The father desires to have sex with any good looking female and at one point, because of his dementia, “comes on” to one of the daughters. My Ratings: [1/2]
—Ty Ann Noyes, age 51
I saw this movie with my mother, as we were both in the mood for a comedy. This film is nothing of the sort! I didn’t care about any of the characters and left feeling cold and disappointed. The Lord’s name is taken in vain countless times and that was a huge turn off for me. All the actors in “Hanging Up” have made much better films. Don’t waste your time with this one. My Ratings: [1/2½]
—Monika, age 20
This was a wonderful film. I really enjoyed watching it with my mom. It is a real tear-jerker. The only problem that I could find with it is that there was some language. I still think that it is a great movie for kids in there teens and even for adults. I definitely recommend it! My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Tiffany Millikan, age 15
We saw the movie with our 14 yr. old niece. I was very disappointed not only in the story line, but also the language. The Lord’s name is taken in vain, I don’t know how many times… My Ratings: [2/2]
—Melinda Steiner, age 53
I went and saw this movie with my Christian friend and mom. I went into the theatre not knowing anything about it, and it wasn’t that bad. The language was disturbing, but I just about cried twice. Overall, it was not bad, not something I’d see again though. At the theatre it was rated AA, not PG. My Ratings: [3/3½]
—Melodee, age 14
I was very suprised, in a bad way. The previews totally fooled me because I thought that it was gonna be a light-hearted comedy, but instead drama drama drama! Unless you are a drama freak, do not see this movie. My Ratings: [2/2]
—Charity, age 13
This is definitely a chick flick and is really sad. I thought this was a really good movie and it wasn’t bland. However, I went expecting to see a comedy, but instead it was a drama. But a good drama. The story is good, to me, and I loved this movie, but expect to cry. My Ratings: [3/4½]
—D.A., age 14
Well, for those of us who like Meg Ryan, it IS enjoyable to see her once again perform with excellence. However, I saw this movie with 3 other women friends and when it was over, 4 out of 4 of us were totally disheartened. It was interesting to see the interaction between the sisters, but the movie was quite a tear jerker. Now, I myself usually like a good tear-jerking drama, but this movie was very depressing. With a dying father on her hands and flashbacks of her father as an abusive alcoholic who still longs for his ex-wife to come excitedly back to him after 10 years of divorce, the movie goes from sad to down right depressing. I do not recommend this movie.
—Denise S., age 36