Friday, November 11, 2016

Other People: Movie Review


Sweetly funny and insightfully dramatic.
Other People is sweetly funny, insightfully dramatic and an all-around crowd pleaser despite the tragic elements of the plot. David (Jesse Plemons) has returned home to be with his dying mother. He’s desperate to be the successful son, but he’s a comedy writer with no big gigs on the horizon and was recently dumped by his ex-boyfriend Paul (Zach Woods), so he’s content to just pretend that Paul is still his current boyfriend. 2016

Directed by: Chris Kelly

Screenplay by: Chris Kelly

Starring: Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford

Jesse Plemons, formerly known as a young Matt Damon, is now one of the best working actors around. There’s a relatable-ness to his self-deprecating humour and an honest depth to every moment and glance that you know exactly what he’s feeling, and depending on the scene you either want to laugh at him, laugh with him, or cry with him. It’s the type of comedy-drama balance that actors like Tom Hanks has excelled at. Jesse Plemons isn’t quite as mainstream so he’s ours for now.

Matching Plemons’ emotional honesty is Molly Shannon who hits a home run with the more dramatic range of hilarity and death. She provides the dark comedy that the film sometimes gets labelled as, and it’s her gift for comedy that keeps the film from getting too dark. In a smaller role, but just as good, Zach Woods is adorably sweet as David’s ex-boyfriend. Woods isn’t as outright funny as he usually is, but shows a much softer, human side as a compassionate and caring ex-lover.

So this review has turned into a rave of actors, not exactly my intention but deserved nonetheless. A point that I was intending to make was the chemistry between Plemons and Woods. Other People is about life, death, and just trying to find who you are, and through all of that, it’s also about homosexuality. There’s a realness to David and Paul’s former relationship (that’s how well this was portrayed, it’s not even a current relationship and I know exactly what they were like as a couple) that has rarely been seen on the big screen before.

This is the first film from writer-director Chris Kelly, best known as a Saturday Night Live writer, and he has taken much of the film’s material from his own life. That’s why Other People works. It resonates because it’s personal. You will recognize at least part of yourself in David because everybody has gone through the various struggles he’s dealing with – the loss of a parent, a break-up or the lack of acceptance for who you are.