Surrender, Dorothy

Director: Charles McDougall

Producer and star Diane Keaton is excellent as grieving mother Natalie Swerdlow in screenwriter Matthew McDuffie’s adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel. After her beloved, free-spirited daughter Sara (Alexa Davalos) dies in a tragic car accident, Keaton’s Swerdlow undergoes a mini-breakdown of sorts and, in a desperate effort to keep the extraordinarily close relationship with Sara alive, goes to stay at the vacation house Sara had been sharing with her friends. Once there, secrets pertaining to her daughter are revealed as well as numerous confrontations of guilt, accusations and confession ensue in this painfully real but riveting study of grief. The entire cast matches Keaton’s intensity, most noticeably Tom Everett Scott in an excellent portrayal as Sara’s gay best friend, Adam, who drew muse-like inspiration from their relationship for his work as a playwright. In a fine subtle turn as the married friend with whom Sara had been involved, Josh Hopkins is also excellent although overall, it’s Keaton’s tour-de-force performance that makes this cable TV film a must-see for her fans. Note: Watch for an inside joke as Keaton ridicules former lover Woody Allen’s far-too-serious, Scandinavian influenced film Interiors, of which she was a star.