Friday, May 15, 2015

5 Flights Up (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies
"5 Flights Up" Provides Ups and Downs
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

My son Kevin and his partner Clarisse live in Brooklyn, but they’re thinking about moving. They love it there, but want to explore someplace new. However, selling the apartment may turn out to be an emotional challenge.

I suggested they go see "5 Flights Up," a movie that hits pretty close to home. 

The Brooklynites in this story are a tad older, but the sentiments are similar. Here you meet Alex (Morgan Freeman) and Ruth (Diane Keaton), a happy couple, he an artist, she a retired schoolteacher.
They bought their 5th
floor walkup years ago when prices were low. Now they’re thinking about selling, buying something nicer. Why not?
"The neighborhood’s changed now. It’s … cooler. Full of hipsters," says Alex.

So they talk to their pushy niece (Cynthia Nixon), who happens to be a real estate agent. That sets off a series of frustrating events. Their patience is tried by the crowd of potential buyers that show up for open houses. People who yak on about what they would do with this apartment. Nosy characters who pry into their life. A kid who like to click switches. As well as a little girl wise beyond her years, reminding Alex of when he met Ruth.

Meanwhile they must look for a new place to live. You’ll smile when they find an ad that sounds perfect … but turns out to be the very apartment they’re selling.

There are subplots that involve a possible Uzbekistan terrorist in a jackknifed truck on the Williamsburg Bridge and a terrier on its way to the vet. "She doesn’t know where she is and she doesn’t know where she’s going," Ruth says of the sick dog. "Like us," nods her husband.

Plus you get gauzy flashbacks of Alex and Ruth as a young, courageous inter-racial couple (well played by Korey Jackson and Claire van der Boom) first moving into the spacious Brooklyn walkup.

"5 Flights Up" is playing this week at the Tropic Cinema.

Will you like it? With Freeman and Keaton, you can count on the acting being great. But the storyline goes nowhere in particular, content to offer a vignette of the emotional ups and downs of selling an apartment that’s been a happy home for 40 years. If you want to share the warm, fuzzy memories of a likeable couple, and be reminded of your past moves, take the stairs and climb "5 Flights Up."

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