Hanging Up

Nora Ephron helped pen this hideously synthetic film version of her sister Delia's novel, at least partly based on the last days of their screenwriter father Henry. Here Matthau plays the plucky old codger Lou, wheeled into hospital with the kind of terminal illness which has reduced his powers of speech to tart one-liners, leaving his three girls to spend all their time on the phone fretting over him and each other. Georgia (Keaton, who also directs) is the eldest, a power-suited dynamo who publishes her own successful style magazine; Eve (Ryan), the responsible middle one, is a permanently hassled party organiser; while Maddy (Kudrow) acts in one of the tackiest soaps on daytime TV. They laugh, they cry, they bond, and that's all there is to it. The painful demise of a parent is blithely Ephron-ised into easily digested gobbets of sticky sentiment, smart ass dialogue and fortune cookie insight. Amid autopilot performances from the ladies, Matthau deserves some credit for avoiding the mawkishness that might have made the proceedings even more unendurable. It does seem desperately trite however when his loss merely provides for a culminating image of sisterhood in a liberating food fight.

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Diane Keaton
Screenwriter: Delia Ephron, Nora Ephron
Cast: Meg Ryan
Diane Keaton
Lisa Kudrow
Walter Matthau
Adam Arkin
Cloris Leachman
Jesse James
Edie McClurg
Duke Moosekian
Ann Bortolotti
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