5 Flights Up

Terrific chemistry between Freeman and Keaton

You could look at this as three movies for the price of one: a touching tale of a long-married couple faced with the prospect of having to relocate in New York, an amusing set of tips on that city’s vicious real estate market, and a story of interracial love in the ’70s.

Alex and Ruth (Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton) are getting on in years. They can still manage the five flights of stairs to their Brooklyn condo, but it gets harder every day.

Ruth’s niece is an annoying real estate broker (Cynthia Nixon, either nailing it or maybe simply annoying) that’s trying to persuade them to sell and move to an elevator building in Manhattan.

As a succession of amusing New York-type prospective buyers parades through their condo, they weigh their options and reflect back on when they bought the place four decades earlier, in less tolerant times.

This modest little movie is far from perfect. While it’s undeniably warm and funny, it’s also terribly slight. A fairly pointless subplot about a terrorism scare adds little.

But the people, emotions and situations are real. Rare enough these days. Bottom line: see this one for the terrific, unforced chemistry between these two veteran actors, and the pleasure of spending a little unhurried time in their company. Sometimes that’s enough. Adapted by Richard Loncraine (Wimbledon, My House in Umbria) from Jill Ciment’s 2009 novel Heroic Measures. Japanese title: New York Nagame no Ii Heya Urimasu. (92 min)