5 Flights Up
First of all, I love Diane Keaton. Also I have a good degree of like for Morgan Freeman, especially in Lean on Me. And my family is fascinated with New York real estate, having purchased two Brooklyn coops amongst us. Also, I seem to gravitate toward movies about older people because I am one. And Alex and Ruth are older. Alex is 70 years old and having trouble climbing the five flights to his Manhattan walk up. Ruth is in a little better shape, but Ruth wants to do what’s best for her man. They live in Brooklyn.
That said, I believe the film captures well the humor of the New York real estate tour. We meet the looker only, the haggler, and a woman who has to lie on the bed to get the vibe of the place. With the annoying kid who flips light switches ad nauseum, the picture is complete. It’s enough for Alex and Ruth to decide on the spot they don’t want to sell. Or even show the place again.
But Ruth and Alex are people who have been through trials and survived. They married when interracial marriages were illegal. These two are not easily shaken. When they look for a new place for themselves, however, doubt and anxiety begin to set in.
Ruth tells Alex, “All we need is a room for you to paint and an elevator.” But it’s not that easy. They love their home. To complicate the search, their beloved dog has serious health issues and is hospitalized. And later on, we find Alex is deemed a has-been by the art gallery that sells his paintings.
What more can go wrong? Plenty. But I’m not telling. Especially the outcome.
Just know that Alex’s final words are “We can do what we want!”
The film is based on Jill Ciment's book, Heroic Measures, adapted for the screen by Charlie Peters and directed by Richard Loncraine.