Darling Companion (2012)
Beth (Diane Keaton) saves a bedraggled lost dog from the side of the freeway on a wintry day in Denver. Struggling with her distracted, self-involved husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) and an empty nest at home, Beth forms a special bond with the rescued animal. When Joseph loses the dog after their daughter's (Elisabeth Moss) wedding at their vacation home in the Rockies, Beth, distraught and angry with Joseph, enlists the help of the few remaining guests (Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Mark Duplass) and a mysterious woman (Ayelet Zurer) in a frantic search. -- (C) Sony Classics … More
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Critic Reviews for Darling Companion
A complacent uncomplicated family drama with simple yet endearing sensitivities.
No doubt this yarn enthralled Larry and Meg Kasdan's dinner guests, but onscreen the crisis seems dull and inconsequential, in part because the quest for the dog is essentially a MacGuffin that drives the blah 'real' story about marital reconciliation.
A couple adopt a dog. Then they lose the dog. Then they try to find the dog. Do they end up finding the dog? Egads, don't let me spoil every twist and turn in this movie!
Featuring beautiful cinematography that captures the natural beauty of the Rockies and a superlative cast, Lawrence and Meg Kasdan's "Darling Companion" is a darling of a film.
I enjoyed Lawrence Kasdan's Darling Companion on several levels, even as I realized that it's not - by any standard criteria - a terribly good movie.
It's being billed as an adult drama, but beware: Darling Companion is a ponderous film with very little charm and a snail's pace.
This is a movie that all but licks your face and begs you to like it, and you'll find yourself wanting to oblige. But it's just too structured and seems overly concerned with conveying a sense of real time . . .
How did Kasdan get these people to show up? Did they not see the script? One can only hope that, in the future, the filmmaker's powers won't be limited to those of persuasion.
The dog is an absolute charmer -- would that the movie had spent its time on his adventures in the woods than on the dullards who ultimately seem incapable of finding a book in a library.
The problem is, like Freeway, the dog, "Darling Companion" seems to have lost its way as it just wanders looking for someplace to land.
Soppy, time-consuming, alleged feel-gooder about Diane Keaton's rescue dog, who gets lost in the Colorado Rockies.
Today, however, it's hard to watch a film about people who live in a bubble with problems that might earn them a spot on WhiteWhine.com.
...a passably pleasant endeavor from Kasdan that is, admittedly, a far cry from his earlier work...
Between the gypsy psychic and the distracting characters, "Darling Companion" loses its way.
[It] has a fine cast, but doesn't seem to have much to say other than lamenting the unfairness of getting old.
Audience Reviews for Darling Companion
Directed (and co-written) by Lawrence Kasdan, Werc Werk Works, 2012
Starring Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard and Ayelet Zurer.
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 Heat, The 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 Back, Return 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.
Length: 103 minutes
Review: 3 out of 10
"Darling Companion" is shockingly bad. Filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan ("Body Heat," "The Big Chill") seems to have made this in order to secure a TV project. It looks like he was trying to prove to certain corporate executives that he can do TV.
That is depressing enough, that a film would serve as a try-out for television. But "DC" doesn't even work as a TV pilot. I'm sorry to say this, but I wouldn't trust Kasdan with either TV or film right now. His instincts as a director seem to be shot.
It pains me to say that about any creative person. But it stings especially with Kasdan because his "Body Heat" and "Accidental Tourist" are two of my all-time fave films. I can still remember seeing those films for the first time -- where I was, whom I was with. They made such an impression on me. But we all know that artists sometimes lose their creativity over time. Alas.
In "DC," Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline play an upper-middle-class couple going through a sort of empty-next syndrome now that their children are grown up and have moved away. The wife, a well-meaning airhead, rescues a stray dog on the freeway one day (in one of many preposterously fake sequences) and decides to keep the animal.
A year or so later, the dog runs off in the woods and cannot be found. For the next 90 minutes, we watch this couple, joined by a few other family members, search their ritzy, hippie-dippie Colorado ski resort for the dog. The film nauseatingly tries to mimic a Nancy Meyers' movie ("Something's Gotta Give," "It's Complicated"). In between terribly empty and repetitious scenes, schmaltzy music swells loudly. I've almost never seen a film try so hard to be cute and fail so miserably.
There is a good chance "Darling Companion" will top my Worst of 2012 list.
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