Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Please Give

"She knew what she didn't want however, and it was exactly what Vicky valued above all else."

The grand daughters of a woman who's health is in decline make nice with the family that owns her rental.

I was impressed with the honesty of Please Give. To me it seemed full of accurate representations of the tiny scenes that play out in our lives everyday. Moment after moment hit my as accurate and uncontrived, and that in and of itself is one of the biggest compliments I can give.

Please Give was written and Directed by Nicole Holofcener, the same mind that brought us Friends With Money, and various episodes of Six Feet Under. And when I sat down to write this review I realized that just like with both the aforementioned titles, I enjoyed Please Give because of it's willingness to attempt a landing on subjects that are as common place as they are hard to define. Holofcener is not an editing visionary by any means, but she wields subtlety with skill and ease. Her dry production style is easily made up for by the delicious angles she shows us our own lives from.

Please Give is a movie that brings with it a great deal of laughs. But the laughs are born of realistic social awkwardness (did you hear that Wes Anderson? REALISTIC social awkwardness) more than delivered punchlines. An old woman sees her next door neighbor, and truthfully declares that he's gained weight since they last meant. You laugh because if you were in the situation you'd realize that you had no choice but to do just that- laugh.

Here is another place where Holofcener strikes a vital blow. Please Give is a movie that explores our need for balance in our lives. Most specifically the balances between honesty and civility. Between graciousness and the avidity we have culturally for consumption. The themes swirl like smoke through every frame, never thick enough to obscure- never thin enough to ignore.

The always enjoyable Catherine Keener leads a spectacular cast through the highs and lows, putting yet another notch on her hit-and-miss cinematic belt. She plays a woman who takes and takes, and no matter how much she gives can't seem to strike an internal balance for it. On the opposite side is the glorious Rebecca Hall, who plays a woman who can't find the strength to stop giving, and take just a little for herself for a change. Together these two comprise the backbone of the film- to the delight of all in attendance.

Even with he obnoxious laugher in our theater, this film was a treat. It suffers occasionally in the pacing department, but never enough to fully take me out of it's world. Hilarious and occasionally powerful, seemingly with no effort at all. There is not much more one could ask of a simple movie like this. Please Give deserves a Thank You.

Reel Deal Recommends
Death to Smoochy: Keener in a pitch black and hilarious comedy.
The Prestige: Where Hall first stole my heart- I will never stop recommending this movie.

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