Something’s Gotta Give

Some years ago I belonged to an amateur theatrical group called “The Cheerful Hamlets”. The first play we put on was Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy – a hilarious farce with a reversed lighting scheme.

At one point, my character – Clea – had to speak cockney. I will never forget one of the lines I had to utter: “Better late than never, as they say”. Whenever I want to say this, I always say it in her voice and accent.

This cliche¬† phrase could be a motto to Nancy Meyers’ romantic comedy Something’s Gotta Give (2003), starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. It’s a story about an accomplished 50+ playwright, Erica Barry (Keaton) who is forced to nurse at her Hamptons’ beach house a 60+ Harry Sanborn (Nicholson) – her daughter’s boyfriend .

Harry has never dated anyone who was past 30 and suddenly he was confronted with a mature woman whose slightly neurotic nature he finds alluring. As it often happens, he discovers how much he needs her when it is (almost) too late, because Erica is idolized by a young handsome doctor (Keanu Reeves).

Trivia: The title of the movie comes from a 1954 song written by Johnny Mercer, namesake of Keanu Reeves’ character Julian Mercer (source).

If you remember my posts about two New York movies/set designs, i.e. Sex and the City 2 and The Devil Wears Prada, you know how much I love such “signature” designers as Lydia Marks. The moment you see the set, you know who did it.

It’s the same with my other favourite set designer – Beth Rubino. Rubino cooperated with Meyers on another project – It’s Complicated (you can read about it on my blog here). I’m strongly convinced that without the ambience created with these unique and stylish set designs, the films wouldn’t have been so successful.

In Something’s Gotta Give, the idea was to contrast the main characters with the visual opposition of white/light (Erica) and black/dark (Harry). Thus, Erica wears white and is surrounded by light-coloured furniture, whereas Harry wears dark clothes and his guest bedroom has dark-coloured accents. Moreover, they like to collect pebble stones from the beach – she collects white, he collects black ones.

This opposition of white and black reminds me of yin and yang – a symbol of apparent contradictory forces which, in fact, are complementary, e.g. shadow cannot exist without light.

See how the idea of seemingly opposing, yet corresponding, forces functions in Beth Rubino’s set design, here in the photographs by Bob Marshak via Architectural Digest:

Somethings Gotta Give in Architectural Digest - photo credit Bob Marshak

Something’s Gotta Give in Architectural Digest – photo credit Bob Marshak

Something's Gotta Give - Erica's bedroom

Something’s Gotta Give – Erica’s bedroom

Somethings Gotta Give - dining room

Something’s Gotta Give – dining room

Somethings Gotta Give - guest bedroom

Something’s Gotta Give – guest bedroom

Pay special attention to the lighting and quality furniture. Here is what I’ve found for you to set your house in “Hamptons’ style”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More in this style (click on the photo to enlarge and find a link to the shop):

I don’t know which one is a bigger fault – impatience or procrastination. Mine is impatience. But I’m working hard to learn that everything has its time. When you try to fast forward your life, you miss the here and now, something that should really matter to you. It’s one of the most difficult social skills – to learn to live at your own pace; to find your inner rhythm. If you still haven’t started looking for your own tempo, try now. After all, “Better late than never, as they say”.

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