Something's Gotta Give (2003) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A swinger on the cusp of being a senior citizen with a taste for young women falls in love with an accomplished woman closer to his age.

  • Harry Sanborn is an aged music industry exec with a fondness for younger women like Marin, his latest trophy girlfriend. Things get a little awkward when Harry suffers a heart attack at the home of Marin's mother Erica. Left in the care of Erica and his doctor, a love triangle starts to take shape.

  • Harry Sanborn is a sixty-three year old hip-hop record company executive, who is attracted only to women half his age or younger, and who don't want anything serious beyond sex. Erica Barry is a mid-fiftysomething successful playwright, who has not seriously dated since divorcing her husband of twenty years, Dave Klein, the director of her plays. Her non-dating status is due to the fact that the men she meets of her age are either intimidated by her and/or, like Harry, want a younger plaything. Harry and Erica meet when Erica's daughter, Christie's auctioneer Marin Klein, who has just started dating Harry and who herself has never been in a serious relationship, brings him to her mother's lavish Hamptons beach house for what is going to be their first sexual encounter together, they surprised to see Erica there. Harry believes Erica is uptight and he doesn't understand her at all. Erica believes Harry is misogynistic and chauvinistic, only out for his own carnal wants, which nonetheless needs to be fueled by Viagara. Harry and Erica end up spending time alone together at her Hamptons house out of circumstance after Harry suffers a mild heart attack. The two end up bringing something out of the other each didn't even know existed. At the same time, Erica attracts the attention of Harry's emergency room cardiologist, Dr. Julian Mercer, a man twenty years her junior. Erica is initially oblivious to his advances, she believing that he is attracted to Marin - a woman closer to his own age - but he is eventually able to show his devotion and admiration of her as an attractive, strong, successful woman. Erica has to figure out what to do with both relationships. While Julian is more obvious in terms of wanting something serious with her, which is what she wants with the right man, Harry is a little less certain about what he is feeling for Erica, as romantic love has been a concept foreign in his life, even less so with a woman like Erica.

  • A young man plays a doctor caring for a man, who suffers a heart attack at the house of his young girlfriend's mother. While there, the elder man falls in love with the mom. The doctor also finds he has an attraction to her, despite their age difference.

  • Sixty-three year old Harry has a reputation for dating girls a third his age. Taking Marin, his latest belle, back to her beach house for the weekend he is taken aback when her mother Erica unexpectedly turns up. Suffering a heart attack while romancing Marin, Harry finds himself housebound with Erica his nurse and only companion. As they grudgingly get to know each other something starts to stir, though as the hospital doctor who treated him has taken a shine to Erica, Harry could have serious competition.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) is a wealthy New York businessman who has had a habit of dating women under 30 for 40 years. When he and his latest conquest, Marin Barry (Amanda Peet), drive to her mother's Hamptons beach house on the coast, his life turns upside down.

    Expecting to be alone, Harry and Marin are surprised by Marin's mother, successful playwright Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), and her sister Zoe (Frances McDormand). After an awkward dinner, the night turns disastrous when during foreplay with Marin Harry has a heart attack and is rushed to a hospital. The handsome young doctor, Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves), tells Harry to stay in the area for a few days, and so Harry ends up staying with Erica. Their differing personalities initially make for awkward living arrangements, until the two begin to get to know each other.

    Soon, the two have fallen in love, they live very different lifestyles Erica's determination to be single and independent, and Harry's constant desire for new women and experiences combined with the fact that Harry is dating Marin and Julian has fallen for Erica, leave the two struggling to deal with their current relationships with others, but also work on their own. Marin soon breaks up with Harry after she suspects that he's in love with her mother. The break up is not out of anger, but rather she wants her mother to be able to have a relationship with him and for her own life to move on. Harry and Erica spend more time together and the relationship they have with each other gets even more serious. Harry's improving health means that he no longer has to stay with Erica, and in a very awkward decision, he heads home.

    Meanwhile, Marin receives news that her father, Erica's ex-husband who she still allows to direct her plays, is getting remarried. Although Erica is unaffected by the news, Marin is devastated, exhibiting self-centered behavior which implies that she is the only one this concerns. She pressures her mother into going to dinner with Marin to see her ex-husband and his new fiancée. At dinner, Erica is the life of the party until she sees Harry at another table with another woman, and is crushed, because she realizes that she still loves him. Harry spots Erica and tries to convince her that the woman was just a friend and that they weren't in a relationship. In the argument that follows, Harry suffers from what he believes is another heart attack and is rushed to the hospital where he is told that it is only a panic attack but he must rest if he doesn't want to end up in the hospital every week. The female doctor tells him that if he was her 'Dad' she would not want him out alone so soon after a heart attack, clearly emphasizing his age. Harry goes home in an attempt to get some rest.

    Erica, on the other hand, also goes back home and breaks down into tears. Although she is heartbroken, she figures that the events that are happening in her own life would be great to use in a play, and thus she starts to write a play on the whole experience. While at lunch with a friend, presumably an actress, Harry hears her ramble about a new play that she is auditioning for and starts to summarize it while explaining how funny it is. Harry nearly chokes when he realizes the play is about him and rushes to the stage where it is being rehearsed, and sees Erica. They don't manage to heal the wounds that have been made and Erica tells Harry to get on with life.

    The story then opens up six months later in Paris where Erica is spending her birthday with her new boyfriend, Julian, whom she met when Harry had his first episode. Harry shows up to the restaurant where she is eating because of an agreement they made earlier, that they'd spend their birthdays (Erica in January, Harry in February) together in Paris. Harry and Erica are extremely happy to see each other and once again realize how much they love each other. Erica's boyfriend interrupts when he enters the restaurant a little late. They never have time to really tell each other their true feelings until hours after the dinner.

    While Harry is gazing over the Seine in the Paris night, Erica pulls up in a taxi. She gets out and explains to Harry that Julian figured that they both still loved each other. Harry and Erica kiss and it's assumed that they get married. The movie resumes about one year and a half later at another restaurant in New York. Erica and Harry are eating out with Marin and her new husband with their year old daughter.

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