5 Flights Up (2015)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on May 12, 2015 @ tonymacklin.net.

On his bucket list, Jack Nicholson said, "Somebody marry Diane Keaton. Please."

The elusive Keaton has never married, despite her admitted actual romances with Jack, Woody, Warren Beatty, and Al Pacino. She got away from all of them.

His Bucket List buddy Morgan Freeman heeded Jack's request. In 5 Flights Up, he Morgan marries her. At least her character.

What's not to like about Morgan Freeman? He is calmness incarnate. And he calms Diane Keaton, who has a role without her usual quirkiness. She is the optimist in the film, and Morgan is the pessimist, But, of course, he's a genial pessimist.

In 5 Flights Up, Alex (Freeman) and Ruth (Keaton) are a couple who have been married for 40 years. They plan to move from their million dollar, fifth floor apartment in Brooklyn. There's no elevator, and the stairs are beginning to take their toll. Life has changed.

They have put their apartment on the market, and open it to a passel of rude, self-absorbed gawkers.

In a relevant subplot, their dog Dorothy, an aging terrier, has to undergo surgery, which in some ways parallels the couple's struggles.

Alex is a painter of portraits. The son of a gallery owner, who has been promoted, says that market "now is a hard sell." Alex's paintings are now referred to as "clutter" by the onlookers.

5 Flights Up is competently directed by Richard Loncraine. It has a few light satiric notes, among the constant piano tinkling background. The script by Charlie Peters is adapted from the novel, Heroic Measures, by Jill Ciment.

Alex and Ruth are now in a world of cell phones, gentrification, and fear-mongering tv "news." A "terrorist" on the local bridge has paralyzed the city. Or the media has. It's a world of bomb squads with robots.

Australian actress Claire van der Boom and Korey Jackson are engaging as the young Ruth and Alex.

At one point in 5 Flights Up, Dorothy is issued a "do not resuscitate" order. For a while, the film seems to have one, too.

But don't underestimate the power of Morgan Freeman.

One man's "clutter" is another man's creativity.

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