First off, don't expect a light comedy. This isn't one. But it IS a heartwarming movie which focuses on the complexities of dealing with an aging parent, one with memory issues (but anyone caring for a parent, memory issues or not, should relate to this one). Meg Ryan plays Eve, one of three daughters. Eve has the lion's share of responsibility for her father, Lou (Walter Matthau) - and that is an understatement! Meanwhile, Diane Keaton, as Georgia, is a self-centered, ambitious woman while Lisa Kudrow plays Maddy, a bit of a free spirit who is currently working in a soap opera.She has a small role but one she takes seriously and feels slighted by her sisters for not praising her acting efforts.
My take on why this one got so many bad reviews is that I think viewers have to have gone through similar situations to relate to it. Younger viewers, those without elderly parents, might not connect with it. At a certain point in my life, I probably would have found it yawn-worthy. But not now.
I have no idea why this movie seemed aimed at viewers who expect comedy. Some parts, especially scenes where Eve struggles to reconcile her parent's breakup as well as her father's drinking, his chaotic actions, and faltering memory...can be emotionally draining to view but worth the effort.
Eve is clearly overwhelmed, as are many who have to care for aging parents, but she keeps striving to balance her father's needs with the demands of her business, her marriage, and son. In spite of her best efforts, Eve isn't holding things together very well and the cracks begin to show. She is edgy and tired and can't even imagine "hanging up" or disconnecting when she needs a break. Relating to the theme of hanging up...there is one remarkable scene in the movie where an empathetic stranger gives a gift of enlightenment to Eve, although it isn't THE ultimate solution, just a bit of grace during a turbulent time. This scene is worth viewing the entire movie
Those who are the primary caregiver for an ill parent or one with Alzheimers should relate strongly to Eve's situation. But - as noted - don't expect a comedy. There are some humorous moments but they teeter on the edge of sadness and sometimes - as in life - actually turn into truly painful events. And yet...not so painful that the movie seems melodramatic.
I can see from the other reviews of this movie that many viewers don't share my take. But I've watched this one again and again. It has brought comfort and solace ("A toast to your bravery and a toast to your grief") as well as plenty of moments that had me reaching for tissues. Perhaps it seems TOO real for some viewers?
I have to admit that there was an aspect that seemed unbelievable to me. No matter how rough things got, Eve's house always looked lovely, nearly perfect. But she might have had one incredible housekeeper, right?