(director/writer: Brett Haley; screenwriter: Marc Basch; cinematographer: Rob C. Givens; editor: Brett Haley; music: Keegan DeWitt; cast: Blythe Danner (Carol Petersen), Martin Starr (Lloyd), Sam Elliott (Bill), Malin Akerman (Katherine Petersen), June Squibb (Georgina), Rhea Perlman (Sally), Mary Kay Place (Rona); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Brett Haley/Rebecca Green/Laura D. Smith; Bleeker Street; 2015)

A resonant and tender romantic dramedy on the challenge of finding what one is looking for in their twilight years.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A resonant and tender romantic dramedy on the challenge of finding what one is looking for in their twilight years. It’s smoothly helmed and written by Brett Haley(“The New Year”/”The Ridge”). Marc Basch is co-writer, who helps keep out any sentimentality. A heartfelt dynamo performance by Blythe Danner, in a rare leading role, raises the hardly fresh material to a solid crowd-pleasing film. It’s also disarmingly funny despite being so bitter-sweet.

Blythe Danner plays the lonely seventy-something widow former musician and retired schoolteacher Carol Peterson from LA, who undergoes a big life change when the pet yellow lab she dotes on dies and she’s forced into seeking companionship from others to make her solitary life bearable. It starts with kindling an unlikely chatty honest friendship with the failed musician new pool cleaner (Martin Starr) and becoming enthralled by the romantic interest of the smoothie older man Bill (Sam Elliott).

For the last twenty years Carol lived a subdued and comfortable life living off her pension and an insurance settlement after her husband died in a plane crash.

Her concerned daughter (Malin Akerman) tries to visit her as often as possible. Carol also pals around with three friends (Rhea Perlman, Kay Place & June Squibb), who can’t convince her to join their retirement community.

Danner even sings, as we joyfully catch her at a karaoke bar, in which she does a version of “Cry Me a River”. She also indulges herself in medical marijuana and ends up with a bad case of the munchies.

The film talks especially to seniors who might have lost in their later years their sense of purpose and share a kinship with the film’s inscrutable heroine.

REVIEWED ON 11/19/2015 GRADE: B   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/