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"5 Flights Up": Aging in Place 

Wednesday, May 6 2015
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Richard Loncraine's pleasant-enough 5 Flights Up pairs up Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman at long last, though it's not quite the revelation it should be. Ruth (Keaton) and Alex (Freeman) have lived in the same fifth-floor, elevator-free Brooklyn apartment for 40 years, since long before their neighborhood began attracting Whole Foods and the sort of affluent people who shop there. (Freeman sneering the words "hipsters and gentrifiers" is almost worth the price of admission.) Realizing that it's not as easy as it once was to walk up the stairs, and it's not going to get any easier, Ruth concludes they should sell their apartment. Alex isn't so sure, and hates everything about letting strangers into their home. Freeman's narration feels tacked-on, and a subplot about their 10-year-old dog requiring expensive surgery and possibly becoming quadriplegic is a bit too on the nose. A bit subtler, the running subplot about an terrorist on the lam exposes New Yorkers' not-so-buried Islamophobia. 5 Flights Up does feature one of the greatest stresses of city life: the anxiety of waiting to get buzzed into a building, and then rushing to open the gate in time, which is the worst. The best, of course, would be Keaton and Freeman reteamed in a stronger movie.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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