Fred Won’t Move Out

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:15 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Fred Won’t Move Out
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Elliott Gould, Judith Roberts, Mfoniso Udofia, Fred Melamed, Stephanie Roth Haberle
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Virgil Films
Released On: June 11, 2013
Kiddie Movie: It’s about parents getting old and dying. Put the kids to bed.
Date Movie: Put her to bed, too.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Nope.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Some attempts at a “pussy” joke. And, oh yea, the line by my “assistant.”
Memorable Scene: None.
Memorable Quote: From my assistant at the end of the movie: “What, did they run out of money?”
Directed By: Richard Ledes
Cool things abou the DVD: Nothing.

The press release stated “Told with both humor and wistfulness,” and the DVD packaging “With levity and sadness.” These were descriptions for the movie “Fred Won’t Move Out” upon which I sold viewing the movie to my assistant reviewer on a Saturday night. “Sure, Honey,” I said, “It’s probably got some sad and depressing moments, what with the movie being about an older couple, dad Fred struggling to walk and mom Susan having Alzheimer’s, but it’s supposed to have some humor and levity, too.” That and the fact that I told her if the movie was that bad, it was only an hour and fifteen minutes, so it won’t last that long.

And so we watched “Fred Won’t Move Out,” I kept wondering where the levity was, the best humor was a line by my assistant at the end of the movie, “What, did they run out of money?”, and although some rather fine acting by Elliott Gould and Judith Roberts was throughout the film I couldn’t help but be happy the movie was only an hour and fifteen minutes.

“Fred Won’t Move Out,” as somewhat stated earlier,” works to tell the story of a family, brother Bob (Fred Melamed) and sister Carol (Stephanie Roth Haberle), dealing with their elderly parents Fred and Susan. It’s a small snapshot of a few weeks towards the end of the parent’s lives when it’s time for Susan to definitely be put in an assisted living facility as her Alzheimer’s is reaching the advanced stages, Fred really needs more help as his walking ability is fading fast and he is becoming senile, and the work is becoming too much for the live-in caregiver, Victoria (Mfoniso Udofia) to handle. It’s up to Bob and Carol to convince Fred that it’s time to face the reality of getting older, and that although he doesn’t want to leave the house he has lived in for years with Susan, that it’s really for the best, and it’s really time to accept Susan’s condition, as well as his own.

The movie spotlights many of the internal struggles the family is dealing with, as well as Bob trying to deal with his own failings as a filmmaker. There are a lot of mentally tough scenes to deal with as a viewer, especially of Susan showing many of the ravages of Alzheimer’s, and Elliot Gould is fantastic as the elder husband not really understanding what is going on sometimes, especially with his wife, and her inability to function as he remembers. There is one especially touching scene when a second Bob (Robert Miller), a music therapist, comes to sing some songs to bring comfort to Susan, and the family is together, singing songs, and for a few minutes it’s like things are back to normal.

Don’t get me wrong, the acting by Elliott Gould and Judith Roberts is fantastic, and yes, it’s a tough story to try to tell, but truthfully, at least for me, don’t watch this movie for any levity nor humor as the couple of attempts might bring a chuckle or grin, but this is truly a serious look at a brother and sister dealing with their elderly parents.

And then there is the ending.

Yes, the movie is only an hour and fifteen minutes, but as the movie ended, and I won’t ruin it for you, my wife, I mean assistant, blurted out “What, did they run out of money?” Why? Because I’m sure there was some deep-seeded meaning to the ending scene, and maybe I missed part of conversation that took place earlier in the film that would explain it, but with Fred, Bob, Carol, and Victoria out on the back patio of the house, calling out towards the woods, the movie ended. No real closure, no real answer, and no real ending.

“Fred Won’t Move Out” is an indie-style film, filmed in the childhood home of the writer-director Richard Ledes, and the movie really looks like it. There are a lot of shaky camera movements, a lot of “trying to be artsy” camera shots, and a lot of scenes that could do better by a soundstage, but thankfully the acting of Elliott and Judith carry the film otherwise I would have been shooting for a rating of 1/2 star. Instead I’ll give the movie 2 stars out of 5. I suppose it should be 1 ½ star with the ending it gave me, but I’ll stick with the 2 stars. No real humor, no real levity, but if you do want to laugh just think of what my wife said as the credits started, “What, did they run out of money?”

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!