Film & TV

Blu-ray/DVD Review: 5 Flights Up

After 40 years in the same apartment, an aging couple decide it’s time to find somewhere more accessible to live but instead they learn what makes a home.

Thoughtful, understated films that do not move slow enough to induce a coma are such a rare treat that when one comes along, like 5 Flights Up, it’s difficult not to love it more than it deserves.

This delightfully laid back comedy/drama stars Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton as Alex and Ruth, an aging couple who, after 40 years, decide to sell their fifth floor New York apartment and move somewhere more accessible. Over the course of one weekend, they endure an aggressive real estate agent, a barrage of bad mannered home buyers and attend a few open houses themselves.

Their search for ‘home’ is interspersed by a veterinarian’s regular updates on the condition of their pet dog, Dorothy, who is undergoing spinal surgery and, in the background, television news updates follow the hunt for a suspected terrorist, exposing journalistic sensationalism more interested in ratings than truth.

As we reflect on Alex and Ruth’s early days, played in flashback with great affection and romance by Korey Jackson and Claire van der Boom, we learn of their bond to each other and the place they live.

Each thread carries an uncertain future, whether it’s where they’ll live, establishing a new relationship, the fate of their dog, or the safety of the city with a potential terrorist on the loose. Each thread also defines those special bonds that make a home, whether it be love, history, family, safety, acceptance or a combination of each.

Charlie Peters’ screenplay is based on Jill Ciment’s novel Heroic Measures which intertwines the separate tales with charm and great affection. Richard Loncraine directs his stellar cast at a steady but unrushed pace that suits the mood and situation but with two such consummate actors in the lead, it would be difficult to put a foot wrong.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating out of 10:  8

5 Flights Up will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on 16 December 2015.


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