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Something’s Gotta Give

Nancy Meyers
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton ...
Length: 128 minutes
Rated: Pg-13
Studio: Columbia Tri-Staro

I wonder if the fact that every one of my gal friends loves this movie means something.  It has romance, improbable fantasies-come-true, and exceptionally convenient events that move it liltingly along.  But I think the real reason we women of a certain age like it is because it is the story of triumph of age and beauty, and of new, brimming-with-possibilities-story over old, stale story. And in a world that seems to value youth over age, everyone who watches this film can see and feel the beauty of a middle-aged woman in love.

The love part doesn’t come easily, though. And it seems to defy the reality that the heroine, Erica (played by Diane Keaton), is living.  It also upends the reality that Harry (played by Jack Nicholson) is living.

And that’s why it’s a movie worth a review on this site. Their transitions from one ironclad story to another --- and all the moves that make the transitions happen --- end up being a rather hilarious look at what gets awakened when one moves out of comfort into discomfort, when one’s story is challenged, and when one allows oneself to move into a new story. In this case, Erica’s story shifts; her sexuality awakens, and to her surprise, she has the capacity to fall in love again.  We can’t help but feel good for her as she notices herself in new ways.  And Harry moves from a story of only loving to be with young women (in this case, Erica’s daughter Marin), to really ‘seeing’ an older woman through new eyes.

That a young buck doctor (Keanu Reeves) can be so enthralled with Erica is also a particularly delicious aspect of the film – at least from this middle-aged woman’s perspective. Given the players here – older man, middle-aged woman, hunky doctor, and gorgeous daughter, there are plenty of hilarious scenes and plenty of touching ones. 

Add the backdrop of a gorgeous setting on the beach in the Hamptons, in a house where sunlight streams in from the bluest of skies, with the strains of romantic jazz music sung in French in the background, and there you have it, a perfect ambiance for new awakenings and connections.

This movie is ultimately about wake-up calls, the craziness that can be part of waking up and making connections where one never imagined they would be made, and the fraying and coming together that is part of any transition.

So go find your favorite cozy couch, curl up and watch, and see what gets awakened in you. Even though this film feels like delightful fluff, there is enough in here for a great conversation with your favorite partner and/or your best friends.

Self-Observation Questions

  1. For the next week or two, notice how you are looking at people. Do you take them in, acknowledge them, young or old, or do you find that you dismiss some groups of people?
  2. For the next week or two, notice who looks at you. What happens when you feel truly “seen” for the beauty that you are?

Click here for a coaching practice related to the theme of this movie.





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