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Hanging Up

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PG-13
2000

Hanging Up is a heart-tugging, comedic drama released in 2000, and directed by a notable actress herself, Diane Keaton. Boasting a star-studded cast of Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau, and Diane Keaton herself, the film is a layered narrative that explores the beauty and pain of sisterhood, familial bonds and looming loss.

The film orbits around the lives of three vastly diverse sisters, Eve (played by Meg Ryan), Georgia (Diane Keaton), and Maddy (Lisa Kudrow). Eve is a party planner who is always on her toes solving crises in a hectic life she barely manages. Georgia is ostentatiously successful as a magazine editor and publisher of her magazine, aptly called ‘Georgia’. The youngest, Maddy, is a fittingly quirky soap-opera actress who relishes in a world that's half reality, half cinematic fluff. Though their professional lives differ substantially, these sisters thread together their shared past into a beautiful yet complex tapestry.

The central plotline of Hanging Up revolves around the sisters grappling with their father Lou's deteriorating health. Played by Walter Matthau, the father is a former screenwriter who flits in and out of coherence. Eve, seemingly the designated caregiver among the sisters, takes up the emotional gauntlet of addressing her father's spiraling health and inevitable mortality. But doing so, she stumbles upon her own struggles, personal resentments, and misunderstood family dynamics.

Despite living different lives, there are threads that intertwine the sisters. The weight of dealing with their ailing father is one, but another significant one is 'The Phone'. In an era when mobile phones were becoming an increasingly dominant part of personal and professional life, 'The Phone' becomes a symbolic artifact in this movie. Through the countless calls and conversations that Eve has to entertain because of her sick father, the film underscores the theme of connectedness and disconnection that's symptomatic of this increasingly 'plugged-in' world.

As Eve finds herself constantly hanging up and answering calls, addressing big and small crises, her world becomes a ballet of balancing acts. She navigates her personal and professional spheres, which constantly overlap owing to the incessant phone calls. The movie delves into these grey spaces of exhausted patience, sibling jealousy, unresolvable guilt, family ties, and personal depletedness.

From the moment the movie begins, it immerses the audience in feelings of empathy, amusement, and the painful process of reflection. Although marked as a comedy-drama, there is an inherent melancholy that runs as a background note throughout. This combined with subtle humor and wit produces a narrative that's equally heartwarming and bittersweet.

The performances are remarkable, especially Meg Ryan, who is both heartbreaking and heartwarming as an overburdened daughter and sister. Lisa Kudrow's effortless comic timing brings levity to a deeply poignant narrative, while Diane Keaton commands authority and flawed authenticity.

Walter Matthau, in his role as the father, takes the viewer on a breathtaking emotional ride. In his bouts of lucidity and insanity, he projects the heartrending reality of growing old and the profound fear of growing irrelevant. His layered portrayal tugs at the viewer's heartstrings even as it evokes laughter in surprising moments.

Hanging Up is a movie that offers a poignant narrative laced with gentle chuckles. It's a human story that explores family dynamics amid the transforming landscape of technology and its impact on communication. The film beckons the viewer to indulge in laughter, shed a tear or two, and most importantly reflect on their relationships.

Despite the film's comedic undertones, Hanging Up leans into the inevitability of loss, the difficulty of disconnecting, and the joy of reconnecting. Keaton paints a slew of raw emotions that vibrate with life's many moods. From melancholia to mirth, from bitterness to bonding, from acceptance to estrangement, the movie is a cocktail of human sentiments that evokes and stirs.

Hanging Up may not promise a fairytale ending or serve uncomplicated humour, but it definitely invites the audience to explore an authentic rollercoaster ride of emotions within familial ties. It's a film that deals with love and resentment, guilt, and liberation, all bundled up in the simple act of answering or hanging up a phone. It’s more than a comedy-drama; it’s a reflection on the complexity of life and relationships.

Hanging Up is a Drama, Comedy movie released in 2000. It has a runtime of 94 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly poor reviews, with an IMDb score of 4.8. It also holds a MetaScore of 33.

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Where can I stream Hanging Up movie online? Hanging Up is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Hanging Up for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

4.8/10
33/100
Director
Diane Keaton
Stars
Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau Adam Arkin Ann Bortolotti Cloris Leachman
Also directed by Diane Keaton
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