"Watching this Nora Ephron family comedy again on DVD makes me realise what a
disservice the US theatrical marketing campaign did for this film. Marketed and promoted
as a flimsy, flippant comedy with the accent on one liners and abundant phone use, the
expectation could never be fulfilled. Hanging Up has a lot more going for it, and perhaps
ended up being slotted incorrectly. Essentially a moving story about the love of a
daughter for her father, it boasts three superb comedic performances and a memorable cameo
from an obviously ailing Walter Matthau in his last screen role. The comedy comes from the
drama and sheer tragedy of the situation, and its resonance is far more poignant than we
were initially led to believe.
The outtakes are the highlight of the DVD, showing scene after scene of members of the
cast 'losing it', and breaking up into fits of hysterical and uncontrollable laughter.
It's mostly Meg Ryan who has trouble keeping a straight face, and there's a wonderful
scene with Walter Matthau in which Ryan buries her head between two bunches of flowers to
hide her mirth. But all the girls have their share of being out of control, and it's
obvious that there was much fun on the set.
There's one very long deleted scene, which mostly takes place in a Chinese restaurant.
From the dispute with the Chinese waiter over the shape and size of the table to the
exchange in the ladies' room where the initial concern about their father's real estate
plans becomes cutting and personal, this scene shows the very fine line between humour and
In the behind-the-scene featurette, we hear from cast and crew, who talk about the
essence of family and relationships. Nora Ephron's story is about the sister in the middle
– the one sibling who gets lumbered with most of the caretaking of an ill father.
Director & star Diane Keaton confides her initial hesitancy, as for her, this project
is close to the bone, being the eldest of three sisters. Producer Laurence Mark talks
about Keaton's preparation and how as an actress she knows what room to give other actors
and subsequently gets the best performance.
Navigation is easy and the presentation is in its original wide-screen with language
options of English and German plus a host of sub-title options. And I did - eventually -
find the isolated track of songs and David Hirschfelder's music score (listed under
Language/audio set up). The extra features, as well as the talent profile & scene
selection, are really there to enhance the film itself, which in the privacy of your
lounge room is a poignant and enjoyable affair."
Publication date: October 26, 2000