Monday, June 4, 2012

Darling Companion

Directed (and co-written) by Lawrence KasdanWerc Werk Works, 2012

Genre: Drama

Question: How many of you consider your pets as family members and not just animals? I do, big-time. In fact, I talk to my dogs as if they can understand me. I worry about them like they are my children. And I take care of them (and spoil them) because it makes me happy that they are happy. It's a wonderful relationship that doesn't take much effort. It's unconditional love. 

So when I saw a preview for a film about a woman who finds a dog and he becomes her constant companion I knew I had to see it: Darling Companion.

There was another reason I went to see this film, it was a Lawrence Kasdan film. Remember Body HeatThe Big Chill, and The Accidental Tourist? Well, he wrote and directed those films. He also wrote the screenplays (or co-wrote) for The Empire Strikes BackReturn of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark. There are more films he either wrote or directed but there are too many to list now; however, his credentials are pretty solid, you have to admit.

I did look up DarlingCompanion right before the showing on my IMDb phone App and saw some not so friendly things said about it but I always, or I try to, ignore a lot of the naysayers. As I said it was a Lawrence Kasdan film but also Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton and Dianne Wiest starred in the film. All of them have done some great work in the past with or without the writer/director. Then I read the brief summary of the plot and actually considered not going because it ended up being about a husband who loses his wife’s dog and there is a search for him. I am weeping mess when it comes to anything sad about animals getting hurt or lost – complete MESS - but usually there is a happy enough ending to help me get over any sad emotions so I bought the movie ticket.

So with all that did I like the film? Sadly, I did not. The overall story was about a couple, their marriage and some major problems they have between them. The details will remain secret as to why because if you have been in a long term relationship there are usually only a few things that make a marriage go sour; and if you still decide to see the film I will let you discover it yourself. However, it was sort of a no-brainer to figure out their problem within the first few minutes of the film, but the part I was confused about was the lack of any resolution between the husband and wife, played by Kevin Kline and Diane Keaton. Plus, the subplot of the missing pooch got muddied within the storytelling or it tried too hard to be a metaphor for the loss of a connection between humans especially when someone isn't paying attention. 

Although the very last frames of the film made me smile, immensely, I left the film with a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps it was because I wanted the wife to say something more to her husband especially when he realized that part of the problem, if not all, was his fault. The hubris of some men and their egos never ceases to amaze me and even if they admit their fault they still have way a blaming their behavior on others. This is why the wife had and loved the dog, Freeway, so much. He gave her unconditional love without blaming her or makes her feel bad for being who she was. The dog just wants to be by her side and it makes them both happy. Unconditional love.

Now I am not sure why the writers/director told a story that really didn't have much of a resolution when I think the entire bulk of the film was exposing the problem of this relationship between the husband and the wife. Losing the dog and then searching for Freeway allowed for many conversations between the adults. And just like many of Kasdan's films, it is an ensemble piece with an array relationship issues that I think many can relate to. There was also some humor in Darling Companion but most of it fell short of being really funny, at least for me.

Kasdan likes to go for a certain type of realism in his films, it's not always the pretty side of life and relationships and he did that again here. However, the story wasn't cohesive or intriguing enough to keep my interest. Oh well.

My favorite thing: The montage with the dog and the wife. Could totally to relate to that and smiled the whole way through that part.

My least favorite thing: Perhaps how certain relationships were portrayed in the film.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes

Review: 3 out of 10

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Janene said...

Ugh. Too bad the movie was a dog. (Sorry, I couldn't resist saying that!) At least you saved me from seeing it. Thank you!

Tired of Previews said...

You are welcome. I find something else for you to see :-)