Annie Hall 1977 Co-Written (with Marshall Brickman). Directed by Woody Allen. A classic. Angst-ridden comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) reviews his unsuccessful relationship with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) who has her own unique idiosyncrasies. Most of us welcomed Keaton with this one. Allen suggested Anhedonia, a term for the inability to experience pleasure, as a working title. Brickman suggested alternatives including It Had to Be Jew, Rollercoaster Named Desire and Me and My Goy. Written for Keaton. Rent on Amazon Prime.
Baby Boom 1987 Directed by Charles Shyer. When a cousin dies and leaves ambitious executive J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) a 14 month old baby, her life turns upside-down. Career requirements make it impossible to mother the child with whom she falls in love. A move to the country introduces romantic interest single veterinarian Dr. Jeff Cooper (Sam Shepherd). J.C. starts a small business from her home which explodes. Her former company bosses get their comeuppance, she gets a family. Eminently likeable. Free with Amazon Prime.
The First Wives Club 1996 Based on the best-selling novel by Olivia Goldsmith. Directed by Hugh Wilson. College besties, Annie MacDuggan (Diane Keaton), Elise Elliot (Goldie Hawn), and Brenda Morelli (Bette Midler), come together for the funeral of fourth musketeer, Cynthia Swann (Stockard Channing), who seemed to have had everything but committed suicide. Afterwards, they lunch and compare lives.
Annie suffers from low self-esteem and is separated from advertising CEO husband Aaron (Stephen Collins), much to the chagrin of her judgmental mother (Eileen Heckart). Narcissistic actress Elsie’s husband, film producer Bill (Victor Garber), left her for the much younger Phoebe (Elizabeth Berkley). Brenda’s divorced husband, electronics tycoon Morty (Dan Hedaya), is living with dim-witted, gold digger fiancée Shelly (Sara Jessica Parker- wonderful). Helping one another (and eventually others), the women take masterful revenge. Terrific fun. Also with Maggie Smith, Marcia Gay Harden, Philip Bosco, Bronson Pnchot. Rent on Amazon Prime.
Something’s Gotta Give 2003 Written and directed by Nancy Myers. Successful music executive and womanizer, Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson), is dating much younger, Marin Klein (Amanda Peet). One weekend, she takes him to her family’s (gorgeous) Hamptons house expecting her playwright mother, Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), to be absent. Instead, the couple finds Erica and her sister, Zoe (Frances McDormand). Her mother is surprised, but liberal. The visitors stay.
During foreplay, Harry has a heart attack. At a local hospital, he’s attended by attractive young doctor, Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves), who, in the reverse of Marin and Harry, has an eye for Erica. In order to keep him local while he recovers, Harry is released to Erica’s home. The two come awkwardly together. Meanwhile, Julian starts to court Erica. The doctor is sincere, Harry bound to old habits, until… Oh, and Erica writes a play about it all. What follows is warm and droll. Fine script, good acting. Pretty to look at. Rent on Amazon Prime.
Because I Said So 2007 Directed by Michael Lehmann. Romantic comedy. Overbearing mother Daphne (Diane Keaton) is concerned that Milly (Mandy Moore), the youngest of her three daughters, is neither in a long term relationship nor married (like the other two). She secretly places a personal ad for Milly screening candidates in person. Men find this a bit odd, but charming.
Daphne choreographs a “chance” meeting between her pick, a businessman named Jason (Tom Everett Scott), arming him with information about Milly’s tastes. At the same time, however, her daughter meets Johnny (Gabriel Macht), a musician her mother had previously rejected as unsuitable. Undecided, Milly juggles both men with Daphne interfering. Eventually she discovers how Jason came into her life. Meanwhile, Daphne unexpectedly finds someone of her own. Bright and cheerful. Rotten Tomatoes called it “over-reliant on caricatures,” but sometimes a warm bath is what’s needed. Rent on Amazon Prime.
Five Flights Up 2015 Directed by Richard Loncraine. A lovely low key film where not much happens but leads Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman are worth watching. Long married couple, Alex and Ruth Carver, despite loving their apartment and neighborhood, decide to move because their home is a five floor walk-up and both are getting on. Niece Lilly (Cynthia Nixon) is the broker. There are a couple of side stories, but the thru-line is whether or not they’ll radically change their lives. Rent on Amazon Prime.
Hampstead 2019 Based on the life of Harry Hallowes who claimed and won ownership rights of a plot on which he’d built a squatter shack at Hampstead Heath. Directed by Joel Hopkins. American Emily Walters (Diane Keaton) is widowed in England surrounded by snooty friends who came with the marriage. She works in a charity shop but has few extracurricular interests.
Emily witnesses and stops a ruffian attack on Donald Horner (Brendan Gleeson) outside what looks like a garbage heap, but is, in fact, his home at Hampstead Heath. (Inside is a cozy, culture-filled revelation.) They begin an awkward relationship and fix the shack. She finds herself campaigning for his rights.
The squatter wins by way of a curious British law, but just when it looks he and Emily will get together, their lifestyle differences/habits overrule. All is not lost, however. Keaton and Gleeson are charming. He’s a gentleman teddy bear, infatuating, despite his size. With James Norton, Leslie Manville, Simon Callow. Showtime Trial on Amazon.
Top Bigstock photo: Diane Keaton at the AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute To Diane Keaton held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, USA on June 8, 2017.