Carol (Blythe Danner) has been a widow for 20 years and wonders – is this all there is? Her friends encourage her to try something new – speed dating, maybe, or moving into their retirement home – anything to break her stasis. It’s actually a visit from a despicable old roof rat that seems to prod her toward new experiences, inviting two men into her life (Sam Elliott, Martin Starr) who stir up all kinds of feelings, old and new.
What I liked about this movie: Nearly everything. Blythe Danner is spectacular. This movie is unafraid of aging but even better, it treats its senior citizens with respect and dignity. Carol has 3 very good friends, and instead of giving them the washed out, disheveled look that most movies would have you believe of any woman over 45 is reduced to, the foursome look like a slightly wiser set of the Sex and the City gals. Rhea Pearlman looks cute and fit in her golf apparel, June Squibb is never without a ravishing scarlet lip, and Mary Kay Place is enviably well-coiffed. Blythe Danner is the Carrie of her group, inevitably, and is suitably attired, every outfit classy, understated, elegant. In their 60s, 70s, and beyond, these ladies still turn heads.
This movie is a beautiful testament to female friendship. When your kids are grown and your husband is gone (divorced or dead, you’re alone either way), what you have left are your girlfriends. I especially loved the scenes when the women are together; the camaraderie and chemistry feel genuine. In fact, everything about this movie feels honest: the loneliness, the grief, the comfort found in friends. Danner gives a quietly commanding performance, informed by her own widowhood (in fact, her real-life late husband Bruce Paltrow can be spotted in a gilt frame on her mantelpiece in this movie). This film would be worth your time for Danner alone – this is one of her meatier roles – but you’re in luck; it’s going to satisfy on so many other levels.