“Something’s Gotta Give” Is the Ultimate Winter Comfort Movie
Turtlenecks, the Hamptons, beige decor — what more could you want?
My first encounter with the Nancy Meyers film Something’s Gotta Give came by way of Tumblr, when I happened across a series of gifs immortalizing the movie’s now most iconic scene — Diane Keaton seated in front of her MacBook, simultaneously sobbing and typing as the camera pans around her. Having been only 7 when the movie came out in 2003, I had spent much of my life unaware of its existence, but my interest was immediately piqued upon seeing this piece of cinematic excellence. It wasn’t long before I was able to catch the film on TV in its entirety, putting Keaton’s turmoil into context and quickly cementing the movie as one of my favorites.
In retrospect, my infatuation with the film as a 17-year-old seems strange, considering the plot offered little in the way of relatability, as I did not and still do not know what it would be like to find myself reluctantly infatuated with my adult daughter’s 60-something playboy ex-boyfriend, or to have a puppy dog-like Keanu Reeves pining after me. While the movie falls under the umbrella of romantic comedy, it’s suitable for a more … seasoned crowd, peopke who have already experienced the trials and tribulations of romance and now seek to laugh and reminisce at the mishaps that so often accompany it. And while the ability to relate to a film doesn’t necessarily correlate to a positive viewing experience, it often provides more incentive to watch.
But there was a pronounced warmth about the movie that has kept me returning to it long my initial exposure. I found myself once again compelled to watch it just a few weeks ago, and as much as the plot still remains alien to me at 24 year old, it was upon this most recent viewing that I came to the realize I was less interested in the storyline than ever before, and far more interested in elements like setting and the characters’ wardrobes.
Sure, watching something for such things sounds wildly superficial, but on a blustery winter night when the cold air seeping through the cracks in my windows proves too much for my radiator to handle, there’s nothing I want more than to be consoled by the visual ASMR of Something’s Gotta Give. Because as entertaining as it is to watch Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson play the game of ‘will they/won’t they?’ it’s equally, if not more, enjoyable to be lulled into a state of contentment by the overwhelmingly beige and ecru color palette of the impressive Hamptons home in which most of the movie takes place.
Part of the fun in watching the film is in allowing yourself to be distracted by these seemingly secondary elements, to find yourself lost in the details of Keaton’s chef’s kitchen, which is quintessentially Nancy Meyers and joins the ranks of Meryl Streep’s in It’s Complicated and Cameron Diaz’s in The Holiday, and made all the more enviable by the pancakes Keaton offhandedly whips up using ingredients sourced from her local grocery where she converses in French with the staff.
It’s not to say that these details are meant to go unnoticed, as they very intentionally work to create a distinct portrait of Keaton’s Erica Barry that’s further highlighted by the contrasting personality and aesthetic of Nicholson’s Harry Sanborn, but their accuracy and specificity is such that at times you find yourself paying more attention to them than the plot at hand. But because the plot is so easy to grasp and, let’s face it, kinda predictable, you can allow yourself to slip into these mindless, soothing fascinations with more surface details like the Hamptons scenery or Keaton’s extensive collection of white turtlenecks.
Something’s Gotta Give‘s greatest accomplishment is that, despite it capturing such a highly unusual romance, one that pushes its two participants outside of their respective comfort zones, it still manages to feel so familiar, so safe.
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