As films about our four-legged friends go, the initial charm and premise of "Darling Companion" will charm animal lovers. Though relying on the sentiment and heartfelt emotions of pet advocates everywhere, director and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan’s film ["Grand Canyon" "The Big Chill"] is ultimately focused on the long-standing marriage between Beth (Diane Keaton) and Joseph (Kevin Kline). The husband and wife come to terms with the widening cracks of their communicational skills, the advancing years and the realization that their youngest daughter is getting married. The emotional friction becomes very apparent and palpable between them.
"Darling Companion" almost has the feeling of a Woody Allen project with its scripted nuances and situational absurdities. Add in the combination of Diane Keaton with Dianne Wiest as her sister-in-law to the proceedings and the results create even more of that feeling of "Déjà vu." Keaton and Wiest bring their naturally aware and feisty acting skills to each role along with an emotional maturity and tone that is priceless.
It would be easy to dismiss "Darling Companion" as another cinematic excursion into the territory of the "Lassie Come Home" variety of the "dog rescued, dog adopted, dog lost and dog...?" type. That would be a mistake. This is not a children’s movie as the mature dialogue is created for adults. The pedigree of actors involved and that factor of "unconditional love" is quite a meaningful cinematic excursion to experience, in the discovery and understanding of the infinite meanings of love and companionship.