At first I was filled with trepidation when I noticed that I was one of only two men in the theater. Everyone else was women, very seasoned women. I couldn’t help but to think that I was about to endure and hour and a half of old girlie sap. It was not the ideal way to begin watching a film but that is believe it or not my job so in I went forcing myself to keep an open mind.
Oren Little played with perfection by Michael Douglas is a lifelong realtor in a very affluent Connecticut town. About ten years earlier he had lost his wife to cancer and early his son to heroin addition. These experiences had made Oren a very cold hearted curmudgeon. One day to his totally surprise his son shows up with a 9 year granddaughter he never knew he had. The son is on his way to serve a few months in prison and wants grandpa to care for the child. Grandpa is not very warm to the idea but he ultimately ends up with the child.
Granddaughters I have learned from my own experience do have a beautiful magic within them. Oren’s granddaughter Sarah is masterfully portrayed by a very young actress Sterling Jerins has that granddaughter magic in abundance. Her presence in Oren’s life quickly begins to chip away at his hard exterior. The metamorphosis of Oren from a dark and cold man to a once again warm and loving human being is the core of the film, but as it unfolds it is sprinkled heavily with a warm humor. The one inescapable truth is that granddaughters simply and completely take over their grand fathers in many warm and wonderful ways.
There is one scene I found especially poignant. At some point Oren becomes motivated to help his son get out prison. He hires a lawyer to help accomplish that task and the lawyer is successful. When asked by a coworker “Why did you do that?” Oren looks firmly at his coworker and says simply, “He is my son.”
There are many fascinating elements to this film but the essence is about family and relationships and lasting love that prevails often against brutal odds. There are also many moments of good humor. In other words this a story of real life brilliantly told by Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Sterling Jerins and the entire cast of “And So It Goes.” I sincerely believe that this film has true classic potential despite its somewhat luke warm reception at the box office. It is not the stereotypical mushy love story and it is also definitely not yet another mass slaughter and chaos film made almost entirely on a computer. It is one of those all too rare real stories where yes the concept of human love is explored but in a very good way by very real very good actors. In its own way it is somewhat a modern day “Casablanca” and therein lies its greatest weakness in this modern world. These days audiences are wowed primarily by CGI and special effects and have long forgotten what genuine story telling looks like.
If you want to see a real movie with a richly compelling story told by superb actors do go and watch “And So It Goes.” Trust me, those old ladies are on to something and even guys who give it a chance will like it.
Copyright 2014 Ron Irwin