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While 5 Flights Up touches on a handful of social issues, like gentrification, racial profiling, ageism, and racism to a certain degree, it pretty much is a light film dealing with an older couple trying to decide what’s next in their lives?
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
For over 40 years Ruth (Diane Keaton/ Claire van der Boom) and Alex Carver (Morgan Freeman/ Korey Jackson) have lived in Brooklyn and have been married. This is through her parents not fully accepting their daughter married a black man; Alex having confidence issues when it comes to their art; as well as a slew of other issues. But being that the neighborhood is changing, Alex not being as young as he used to be, and their apartment being worth 100s of thousands of dollars, there is the temptation to move on. Thus leading Mr. and Mrs. Carver to ask Ruth’s niece, Lily (Cynthia Nixon), to help them perhaps sell their home.
There are so many reasons to like this film. The first being that the relationship between Ruth and Alex, whether it is Freeman and Keaton, or van der Boom and Jackson, is undeniably cute. For whether we are watching Jackson court van der Boom, and see her challenge her mother and sister when it comes to being happy for her, or else watching them, 40 years later, still fiercely in love, and highly protective of one another, it truly makes you “awe” to the point of envy.
Then, on top of that, you have to appreciate the world presented in 5 Flights Up. One in which we see how Brooklyn is changing, and how many people are leaving in the process; how racial profiling of those of Islamic faith is being handled; and the different dynamics which come with the various perceptions people have due to age, race, and a handful of other things.
Last thing worth mentioning is, the film doesn’t necessarily end with what you may predict. For while the ending isn’t certainly out of left field, or dramatic, it does seem to imply that we are more so being given a slice of life rather than something overdone and handed the occasional dramatic moment done solely to keep the audience interested.
Despite what usually would be a setup to call the film boring, this film isn’t that. However, I will say that this isn’t the type of film where neither Freeman nor Keaton are trying to really put on the type of performance which would lead to accolades or a new go to in their filmographies. If anything, they seem to be doing this film for the joy of being working actors, and perhaps working with someone new.
Outside of that, I must admit I wanted to see more of Zoe (Sterling Jerins), a girl Alex interacts with multiple times, for her relationship with Alex seemed quite cute. Also, considering Ruth and Alex don’t have kids, and Zoe’s situation, it would have been nice for her to be more than just someone Alex coincidentally saw twice in his life. But that critique is just a personal one.
Overall: TV Viewing
Consider this within the upper echelon of the TV Viewing label. For really, the only thing which kept this from being worth seeing is that, as much as I recognize the dog’s importance, that subplot didn’t do much for the film in my opinion. Then, when it comes to Ruth and Alex selling the apartment, and buying a new one, while seeing them as a couple was cute, them dealing with Lily, and trying to find a place, was perhaps the low point of the film. Low enough to keep this from being worth seeing.