Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give (2003)


Diane Keaton received her fourth Oscar nomination for playing Erica Barry, a neurotic writer who falls in love again in Nancy Meyers’ Something’s Gotta Give.

I suspect that Keaton came the closest to beating Charlize Theron because she was the only other nominee who was nominated for the Golden Globe (and won as well). Thankfully, the Academy had enough sense to recognise a phenomenal performance when they saw one. I’m not saying Keaton is bad (she’s not), but there’s a reason why Theron’s performance is often regarded as one of the most deserving Oscar wins ever.

Something’s Gotta Give is standard Nancy Meyers stuff, which means, don’t expect anything too groundbreaking in terms of artistic value. Actually, I enjoyed it even though the whole thing was a) way too long b) kinda superficial and vapid at times. I mean, it’s basically a movie about rich people and the love problems, nothing more. Jack Nicholson was really playing himself, especially in the beginning, but I found him more tolerable towards the end. That opening monologue about his “love” for the younger women was really creepy though. Frances Mcdormand manages to shine despite how brief her role was.

I happen to have mentioned this before but I love Diane Keaton. I’m one of those people who thinks that shes a truly great actress, and I think she has great dramatic and comedic range. She’s more well-known as a comedic actress but I actually prefer her dramatic roles like Reds and Looking For Mr Goodbar. Annie Hall, of course, is an exception.

People often say that Diane is very “Diane” as sweet Annie Hall, which I agree and both disagree. I’ve always thought her real-life personality was more “Erica Barry” than anything – neurotic, sharp, a bit abrasive and crazy. The role isn’t the most complex or anything but I think she injects her usual greatness into it. Her comic timing is spot-on – she never misses the humorous moments. I know some find the character extremely irritating but for me she is the most interesting part of the movie. It’s clear to me that Diane herself is enjoying the role a lot, and it helps in making Erica such an interesting presence. The neurotic tics of the character is never overdone, and only Keaton can pull them off without looking annoyed or anything. I mean, that insane crying scene was so bizarre and unlikely, but she manages to sell it, making it one of the highlights of the film.

Still, the best part of the performance comes from Erica’s transformation from a tightly-wound, neurotic mess to a woman who learns to love again. Despite how unlikely the script is, Keaton and Nicholson sells their 3 days love story very effectively. Believe it or not, there’s something strangely beautiful about watching Keaton fall in love on screen, and I’ve always suspected it’s because she has a thing for Nicholson in real life (pure speculation on my part here).

Of course, if she had won the Oscar over Theron I would have flipped several tables, but at the end of the day, I think that Diane Keaton is very funny and charming as Erica Barry. Nothing amazing, just lovely work. 4/5.


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