Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Please Give: Movie Review

Hilariously compelling characters with bleeding hearts.

Please Give is an independent, character drama. What is great about this film is the interesting array of characters that were on display. They are well-written, fully-developed, interesting and funny people who each struggled with their moral dilemmas. All of them relatable in one way or another. It’s also subtle, uneventful and filled with self-absorbed people who spend their time lying, worrying and flirting. It’s a curiously engaging and half heart-warming tale of self-image and life. 2010

Directed by: Nicole Holofcener

Screenplay by: Nicole Holofcener

Starring: Catherine Keener and Rebecca Hall

This is writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s fourth collaboration with actress Catherine Keener. Kate and Alex (Oliver Platt) are the central married couple who run a furniture store. In one way, it’s a store that is taking unwanted furniture and finding owners who will value it. In another way, it’s a store that rips-off grieving children by cheaply buying their parents expensive furniture and then turning it around to sell over-priced furniture to people that have more money than sense.

Kate is obsessed with how everything looks. That’s why she needs to expand her New York apartment. Nevermind that there’s a 91-year-old woman living next door – she’ll die soon, but now would be a good time to meet the woman’s granddaughters and prove to everybody that she’s a good person. The granddaughters are played by Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet. The two sisters are opposites: Hall is plain and demure and lost in herself; Peet is fake-beauty (not a comment on Peet’s actual beauty, but the character’s superficiality) and lost in the world of sexual advances.

One of the better characters, and perhaps the one that most people will be able to connect to, is Abby, Kate’s daughter, played by Sarah Steele. Abby is a teenager and is obsessed with her image. She’s worried about her uneven complexion, bothered by her curvy-figure, and angry at her mother. On one hand, she’s a fragile teenage girl that you just want to save from the world, on the other hand, she’s an unruly teenager who is throwing a temper tantrum in the mall. What is her mother to do?

This movie is just about the characters and the lack of plot can leave you wishing there was more to it. Please Give is the type of film where everything is left up to the viewer. You get to do decide how these characters evolved or learned over the course of the film, and then apply these lessons to yourself, if you dare.
Best of 2010


The Kids Are All Right (2010) - Liberal kids and hippie parents in funny, modern relationships.