Three career-minded sisters (Eve, Maddy and Georgia) have drifted apart over the years, but when their father winds up ill and is feared dying, the trio struggles to get beyond their differences. Making it extra difficult is their father’s history of alcohol abuse and other weaknesses.
Positive Elements: Although Hanging Up is not recommended overall (see below), the movie has a good heart—promoting sacrifice, forgiveness and commitment to family members even when undeserving. Unlike her two siblings, Eve is deeply dedicated to caring for her elderly father and makes personal sacrifices to see him through till the end. The film never makes clear what brings Dad to death’s door except to highlight its most obvious symptom: memory loss. Alheizmers? Multiple personalities? Moviegoers will have to suspend judgment here. Whatever it is, Dad goes from loveable to cantankerous to crude and back again. Possibly it’s related to the pain brought on by a wife who left him when the girls were quite young—someone who still occupies his thoughts and dreams. Despite flashbacks which reveal an even darker side of Dad, Eve puts the past behind her, choosing instead to make the best of her father’s remaining last days. Ultimately, the sisters—who are not enemies, but who are not that close either—discover (or rediscover) the value of loving one another.
Spiritual Content: None.
Sexual Content: Sexual banter and suggestive situations mar what could easily have been a worthwhile film (with editing). Dad repeatedly makes reference to John Wayne’s genitalia ("That’s why he liked guns—small [penis], big gun."). At one point, Dad, not remembering Eve is his daughter, tries to seduce her ("You’re very sexy." "We’ve never really gotten it on." "I’d love to make love to you.") In a flashback scene, the sisters (late teens or so) visit their father and discover he’s in bed with his dentist’s assistant. Not only are neither of the two embarrassed or ashamed, but the sisters find it quite funny [what kind of message here?]. Dad later describes her as a "great lay." A drunk Dad ruins his grandson’s birthday party and makes an off-color sexual comment about one of the party guests. Eve often wears a revealing, bra-less tank top.
Violent Content: None.
Crude or Profane Language: Plenty. God’s Name gets abused on many occasions (and Jesus’ once). Uses of "godd--n" abound (even a little boy uses this profane expression, mimicking his grandfather). The f-word is used twice as an angry Eve tells her sisters off. "You bastard" and "p-ss off" are used in the same fashion. A vulgar term for male genitalia is also used repeatedly.
Drug and Alcohol Content: Nothing major here. Dad jokes about wanting a key to the nonexistent mini bar after he’s admitted at the hospital. Dad is said to have tried to commit suicide by overdosing on Percodan in years gone by, but this is viewed as a negative.
Other Negative Elements: When Eve lies to her father and tells him her mother has just died in a "nine-point-eleven" earthquake, the results are only beneficial. Although family relationships are central to this film, Eve never seems to value her own son in the same way she values her father.
Summary: Although there are some notable positive messages in this film, significant objectionable material make this a film worthy of hanging up on.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Diane Keaton as Georgia; Meg Ryan as Eve; Lisa Kudrow as Maddy; Walter Matthau as Dad
Diane Keaton ( )