MOVIE REVIEW: Darling Companion

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IOL Darlingcomp Diane Keaton

Darling Companion

DIRECTOR: Lawrence Kasdan

CAST: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard


RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

RATING: 3 stars

Diane de Beer

Please take a good look at the director and the cast list. If their names don’t all ring loud and clear for you, don’t even bother reading the review. Checking some of my favourite international reviewers, none of them liked the movie, but it was as if they were missing the point.

This isn’t about a missing dog or even one found, it’s not about a daughter finding a husband because of a dog, or believing in the mystical feelings of a pretty companion who believes she can track the missing dog. if you focus on only that, this one will seem as if it meanders nowhere.

It’s much more about a couple ageing, about them growing apart because they don’t understand the other’s needs, a way they find to try to recover their lives and a time of life which catches you unawares because people don’t talk about it much. But because it’s what the baby boomers are experiencing, because of sheer numbers, more of these issues which creep up on most of us unawares, are being put out there.

Don’t go in expecting the cast of stars to shine brightly and the story to blow you away. It’s a small story about people trying to find their way. It’s about life paths that suddenly flow in different directions, it’s about one of a couple being out of touch with the changes happening in the other’s life and before too long, they can hardly speak to one another because everything feels as if it will come tumbling down.

The writers are director Lawrence and his wife Meg which also points to a specific kind of tale because they are ageing. Kasdan was responsible for The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, movies that deal with a specific age and period in time of a group of people, how they feel and react to specific events and how their lives follow a specific trajectory.

That is why this one will puzzle people who are still trying to navigate their life, thinking about issues such as career paths, or wondering about the value of saving for old age.

This is way beyond that. It’s about people trying to find their way back to one another. Not that they’re really planning to wander off, it’s just that they were so taken up by their own needs, they missed those of their companion.

It’s darling if you get what the Kasdan couple are rambling on about, but if you don’t, you won’t know how to connect to the people or the story. So think carefully before you opt for this gentle glimpse of ageing.

If you liked… The Big Chill or Grand Canyon… you will probably like this, too.

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