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AND SO IT GOES

About The Romance
The two attempt the most modest of dates, though Oren's inept attempt at pitching woo ("Last time I had sex, I tore my ACL") eventually does put the two of them in bed together. "Leah actually says, 'I'm leaving my bra on' in the scene," Reiner notes. "That's all about Diane. She thinks there's too much anxiety wrapped up in the sexual act. We put that in, because she said to me, 'Well, can I do the sex scene with my clothes on?' So we just show the aftermath."

After so many years vacant from the dating scene, neither has a clue what to do next. "It's the thing of, 'Are we now a couple? Where do we go from here?'" the director explains. "He's totally nervous and wants to get the hell out of there. He's trying to leave, and she's mortified that he's running out and trying to make chit-chat. To me, it's a perfect scene. Because it takes a while before you're ready to profess love to somebody. And at that stage in life, a woman doesn't want casual sex."

Not knowing what to do, Oren turns for help to a female elder, a crusty co-worker named Claire, played by veteran stage actress Frances Sternhagen, who appeared in Reiner's 1990 film MISERY. "She represents Oren's past and has a long connection with him. She's a no bull person," Reiner says. "And Frances knows how to deliver all those lines - she's like a sailor. And the truth of the matter is, she's a very sweet and gentle lady. She's a terrific performer." Adds Douglas, "I love cross casting, having this very elegant lady talk like a soldier. I couldn't believe those words were coming out of her mouth!"

While just watching Leah and Sarah interact begins to melt Oren's heart somewhat, he still makes an attempt to find the girl's mother, who, it turns out, is a junkie. "He's adamant in the beginning," Douglas says. "He doesn't want to assume any responsibility for her. But when he does find the mother, it begins to hit him, that this little girl has had a rough time."

Leah, in fact, busts him on his coldness, telling him, "I can't believe what you're doing. Don't you have any compassion?" "He gets very angry at her, because he does have compassion," Reiner says. "It's just buried way down in there."

"Oren is basically a broken guy who just becomes a bigger jerk, a bigger schmuck. He can't stop himself because he doesn't know how to open up. He's lost so much: his wife, his son. It happens to so many of us when we have tragedy in our lives. But something wonderful happens in the name of a little nine-year-old girl and a sixty-eight-year-old woman: he has a second chance," explains Keaton. "Leah is responsible for resuscitating Oren and making him have feelings again," says Douglas. "She accuses him of not having any feelings, after all the years he took care of his wife. She sparks him back to life."

Oren begins to become so human, in fact, that he ends up helping his neighbor give birth - on his couch. "The actress, Yaya Alafia, was actually pregnant at the time," Reiner explains. "She got to give birth before she actually gave birth."

The scene was a somewhat familiar one to Douglas. "I've been present for the birth of all three of my kids," he relates. "But I've never had to deal with the afterbirth on my couch."

Keeping his promise to help Leah in her career, Oren eventually sets her up with an audition for the owner of a club, "Victor's," filmed at a steak house in Greenwich. The club owner is played by the one and only Frankie Valli. "He was perfect," recalls Reiner. If Keaton appears nervous, this time, it wasn't just great acting. "Michael had just played Liberace in the HBO film. And I was sitting there playing piano, and Diane was just in her own world. I asked her, jokingly, 'How does it feel?' Are you nervous having to audition in front of Frankie Valli?' She said, 'Frankie Valli? Where's Frankie Valli?' I said, 'He's right there. But don't feel bad, because I'm nervous. I gotta play in front of Liberace.'"

By the end, Oren, having upset Leah with his romantic ineptitude, figures he has screwed things up enough that he may as well continue with his plans to move away. "He figures she wants nothing to do with him, so he should go ahead and leave," Reiner describes. "But then he realizes he's now got the pieces of a great little family, and knows he needs to win her back."

"AND SO IT GOES is really about second chances. People get a second chance or a third chance or a fourth chance or a fifth chance, if you're just willing to open up and take it and plunge in," says Keaton. "That's what I love about the movie. It's what I wish I could apply to my own life: I could have a lot of chances if I would just be more courageous in life and step out there. But we wall ourselves off sometimes when we get older, and it's really important to try and take those baby steps and just keep confronting life and people and opportunities because, really, you need to experience love as much as you can, in any way, shape, or form."

Oren has also come full circle with his son, realizing that Luke had raised a wonderful little girl, despite everything. Says Douglas, "The walls came down. It's nice to know that, at any age, you can rekindle emotional feelings again after being so isolated." That's exactly the point, Reiner says: "At whatever stage of life, love is love. Those feelings don't die. And you act like a teenager no matter what age you are." As producer Damon succinctly sums it up, "Being a part of AND SO IT GOES is what makes me love being in the film business."

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