NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by The Transient Nomad.
The movie opens with Alex Carver (Morgan Freeman) walking his dog (Dorothy) and getting coffee for his wife, Ruth (Diane Keaton). Through Alex’s narrative, it is known that they are moving soon and that an open house is scheduled for their apartment tomorrow. Their niece Lilly (Carrie Preston) arrives at their apartment (five flights up, no elevator) and walks through with Ruth how to prepare for the open house. She tells Ruth that the apartment could be worth as much as $1 million. As Alex returns to their apartment, he has a flashback to when he and Ruth first moved in forty years ago and laments how the neighborhood has changed and that how he will miss the place when they leave.
Alex enters the apartment just as Lilly is leaving. Whereas Lilly is very eager in setting up potential buyers for the open house tomorrow, it can be seen that Alex is not as excited about it. Alex is a painter and he has many paintings lying about in his studio, which Lilly has asked him to tidy up prior to the open house. As he and Ruth are discussing the open house (again, Alex is not eager about the idea of them moving) it is suggested that the reason they are moving is because they are getting older and living in an apartment without an elevator will become increasingly inconvenient. Just as they are talking, Dorothy whimpers and they bring her to the vet. Meanwhile, the news is showing that a fuel tanker is disabled on the Williamsburg bridge.
After getting a CAT scan for Dorothy (which costs $1,000), it turns out that she has a ruptured disc in her spine and stays overnight at the vet. While Ruth seemed content to do whatever it takes to heal Dorothy, Alex was vocally against spending too much money to treat Dorothy as she is 10 years old and considered old. Alex ended up signing a do-not-resuscitate form to Ruth’s dismay and they have an argument on the way home. Back home, Alex goes to tend his small vegetable garden on the roof and has a flashback to when he first brought Dorothy home as a puppy as a gift for Ruth to celebrate her retirement. Ruth progresses in cleaning up the apartment while Alex watches the news, which now indicates that the stranded fuel tanker is suspected to contain bombs and that the driver has disappeared. Later that afternoon the vet calls and informs them that he would like to operate on Dorothy first thing in the morning but the surgery would cost $10,000. Alex, seemingly having a change of heart, asked the doctor to do whatever it takes to save Dorothy, which makes Ruth very happy.
The open house starts the next morning. Overall, none of the people who showed up for the open house were serious buyers; Alex and Ruth perceived them to be rude and critical. Meanwhile, the vet calls and indicates that Dorothy handled the surgery well but had a seizure coming out of it. The news continues to report out on the disabled fuel tanker, now confirmed that bombs are not present however the attention is turned to the disappeared driver whom the media portrays as a potential terrorist. Lilly mentions offhand that the news about the fuel tanker may be negatively influencing potential buyers. A young girl named Zoe chats with Alex in his studio and asks about a painting of Ruth. Flashback to when Alex first met Ruth, Alex was a painter and selected Ruth to model for him. When Ruth asked Alex why he chose her (and not the prettiest woman from the modeling pool), Alex answered that it was because Ruth is real.
The open house ends and a few offers are trickling in but Alex considers them low. As Ruth and Alex discusses the results of the open house, they question why it is that they are considering moving in the first place since they like the apartment and neighborhood so much. They walk around the neighborhood that evening and talk about what to do with Alex’s numerous paintings when they move. Alex believes that no one wants them while Ruth thinks that his friend Larry (who owns an art gallery) could be interested in them and it flashes back to when they were younger and having a similar conversation about Alex’s art while Larry is holding an exhibition for Alex’s paintings.
They have dinner with Larry, his wife, and his son Jackson that evening. Jackson is partnering up with Larry to run the gallery and informs Alex that his paintings are not selling like they used to. Ruth gets into a heated discussion with Jackson about what an artist should paint; whether it is to satisfy the artist or to satisfy potential customers. That night, Ruth has a flashback to when she was about to marry Alex, her family did not appear to overtly support her decision (because it was interracial) and that Ruth ultimately chose Alex over her family.
The next day, Ruth and Alex go visit Dorothy at the vet. Dorothy is in good spirits but remains at the vet because she is unable to move her hind legs. Meanwhile, Ruth and Alex start looking at apartment listings to see where they can potentially move to. They go see a few open houses and Alex repeatedly runs into Zoe and they both agree that these other apartments are not as nice as Alex’s. However, Ruth was really taken in by one apartment and wants to bid on it. Although Alex doesn’t really like it, he tells Ruth he likes it because it makes her happy. Flashback to when they were younger and it is shown that Ruth cannot have children. She is upset with herself but Alex tells her that that does not matter to him and that he loves her regardless, which makes Ruth happy.
Ruth and Alex decide to make an offer on the apartment that Ruth liked and surprisingly their first offer was accepted. The sellers agent want a deposit check that evening. Alex thinks that they are moving a little too fast (seeing as how their apartment has not sold yet) and while they are discussing, Lilly walks in indicating that there are several competing bids on their apartment. When they inform her about their offer on the apartment they liked, Lilly gets on the phone with the sellers agent to stall the timing of the deposit check until Alex and Ruth can get firm offers on their apartment. As the offers come in, it appears to be in their favor and it looks promising that they’ll be able to sell it at a price conducive to them purchasing the other apartment Ruth liked. Meanwhile, they get a call from the vet indicating that Dorothy is up and running again.
When Ruth and Alex show up at the apartment they are intending on buying to deliver the deposit, they meet the owners for the first time. It is at this time that the husband and wife indicate that they do not want to accept their offer and want to open it up for bidding again. Upon Lilly verbally threatening them to uphold their end, the news comes in that the driver of the fuel tanker is apprehended. The media is all hyped up and portraying the driver as a potential terrorist while Alex comments that he’s just a kid and didn’t do anything. Through this ordeal, Alex gets a sense of the character of the couple that owns the apartment and does not like it, he therefore refuses to sign anything and Alex and Ruth leaves. In the corridor, Alex tells Ruth that they’re getting worked up over moving about nothing (similar to how the news media was getting worked up about the fuel tanker/driver about nothing) and then they agreed that they really don’t need to move. Lilly finds out that not only are they not looking to buy that apartment, but that they are no longer interested in selling their apartment either. She flips off both Alex and Ruth and storms off. The movie ends with Alex walking Dorothy up to their apartment in the winter months and sees a young couple moving in to their building, similar to when he and Ruth first moved in forty years ago.
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