Alee’s Analysis: A fresh yet classic look at age-gap relationships and love against all odds.
Something’s Gotta Give is a 2003 romantic comedy written and directed by Nancy Meyers. The plot involves Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson), a notorious bachelor with a love for younger women, who in spite of himself, falls in love with the more age-appropriate Erica Barry (Diane Keaton). Erica is a divorced well-known playwright who also happens to be the mother of Harry’s current girlfriend Marin (Amanda Peet).
But even after his romance with Marin ends, Harry’s love for Erica comes up against major obstacles. One is internal — his fear of committing to one woman, especially one he doesn’t have 30 years on. The other issue comes from the outside — while Harry plans his move, Erica is being courted by Harry’s younger and more handsome doctor Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves).
Besides being a typical romantic comedy about enduring love, Something’s Gotta Give offers a glimpse at the always-interesting topic of May-December relationships and love after 50.
Younger Women, Older Men < Younger Men, Older Women < Similar-Age Couple
Or so it goes.
Something’s Gotta Gotta Give features a number and variety of relationships. The relationships involving younger women and older men are superficial and stereotypical. Harry claims to prefer younger women because he likes to “travel light” and younger women are more accepting. Accepting of what, is the question.
Meanwhile, Julian’s love for Erica is based on less shallow and self-serving reasons. Before he ever meets Erica in person he falls in love with her via her plays and writing. While he has no shortage of women of all ages available to him, he chooses Erica because he sees something special in her. Age is truly insignificant to him — he hardly notices their 25 year age difference.
But in the end, same-age relationships prevail. After Marin’s short relationship with Harry ends she marries a guy her age. Erica’s relationship with Julian meets an abrupt end as she joins Harry in over-50 romantic bliss.
The Plight of the Older Woman
Erica’s sister Zoe (Frances McDormand), professor of Women’s Studies at Columbia, explains the predicament that single older women are in: “The whole over 50 dating scene is geared toward men leaving older women out.” She uses her successful and interesting 50-something sister as an example of how [screwed] older women are, staying in “night, after night, after night.”
But no longer. Before Erica knows what is happening she has not only a man her own age hopelessly falling for her, but a man young enough to be her son, and handsome and successful in his own right. Alas, there is love and relationships after 50.
You Never Know What You Have…
Harry’s hesitance to commit to Erica causes him to lose her to the attentive and settled Julian. For the first time in his life he finds himself pining after a love lost. Luckily for him, Erica still loves him months after their fling and forsakes her near-engagement to Julian to be with him. Which works out, because Harry flew all the way across the world just to meet her for her birthday.
Don’t try this at home.