Carol Petersen (Blythe Danner) has been a widow for many years. She is well-adapted to this situation. She lives in a nice house with her faithful dog, Hazel. She has three close female friends who live nearby at an assisted living facility, with whom she plays bridge and golf. (There are many very funny scenes with these 3 friends, including a LOL scene about a speed-dating event that one of them talked her into attending.) Hazel dies, which is a difficult loss for Carol, and re-activates grief related to the loss of her husband, leaving her psychologically vulnerable.
Shortly after Hazel’s death, the house gets invaded by a huge, ugly black rat. Carol is so terrified of it that she runs out of the house and even sleeps outside that night. The new pool man, Lloyd (Martin Starr, a young man in his 30’s searching to find his way), finds her asleep the next morning and asks if she is okay. She asks him to try to catch the rat, but the rat is a better escape artist than Houdini. Lloyd can’t find him, nor can the pest control man who arrives shortly thereafter.
Lloyd and Carol develop an unusual friendship. They have many interesting and sometimes even profound conversations. Carol is even able to start re-connecting with repressed talents, such as being a good singer.
Carol is also attracted to Bill (Sam Elliott), who is retired and mutually attracted to her. They start dating.
The Director/Co-Writer (Brett Haley) has created a very interesting, emotionally compelling, and very funny movie about loss, friendship, love, and confronting and overcoming your fears. Danner gives an AAW performance and the two male leads and three female actors all give solid performances.
This movie is a real gem and is almost a Must-See! I think it will wind up in my 2015 Top 20 and possibly even the Top 10!