Jul 9, 2010

Movie Reviews: PLEASE GIVE

Please Give

grade: A

Written by: Nicole Holofcener
Directed by: Nicole Holofcener

RATING: R for language, some sexual content and nudity

Starring Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Sarah Steel, and Ann Guilbert







Are you a buzzard if you profit from what’s left behind by the dead? Are buzzards OK, just another part of nature, like a tree?

You’re not exactly rich, but quite comfortable financially: how much guilt and gifting to charity is enough? Can it become obsessive and excessive? Can it become silly? What is the right kind and amount of schooling a teenager about the perils of materialism?

How strong and menacing must a sexual fantasy be before we say to the dreamer, “That’s too much, turn it off now”? What if I remove the word "sex" and call it beauty? And again, "That's too much, turn it off now."

How much Affirmative Action do we allot to the beautiful? Behold a stunning woman: how egocentric, vengeful and mean must she be before a man’s attraction to her stops? What stops it? A natural process or the power of his volition?

A tall, lonely young woman and a short, lonely young man: if it were you, how much difference in height could you tolerate? How much difference in other qualities of mind or body?

A cantankerous senior citizen, sometimes witty, sometimes toxic: how much do you sympathize and help her before reminding yourself she’s a chore, she’s not your blood, soon enough she’ll die, and you can turn away? Does the answer change if she is your blood?

What is the most unusual opening you've ever seen in a movie? If a terrific film ends a little too wobbly on one foot, and if every other stroke has been perfect, do we forgive its off-key closure?

Can issues like these be gracefully woven into a film more comic than dark, more affirming than cynical?

Please Give is a quiet indie film with pleasantly troubling portraits. Yes, it’s that paradoxical, kind of like most of human life, especially when it comes to issues like love and mortality. Please give it your time, money and attention. Its characters, scenes and issues will be with you for awhile, and you won’t be sorry. Or if you are, there’s something the matter with you.

**

5 comments:

altadenahiker said...

Catherine Keener is a favorite of mine. I thought she made a great Harper Lee.

BANJO52 said...

I agree, about Keener in general AND as Capote's co-star (superb movie, by the way).

BANJO52 said...

AH, just saw your kind words at your place. Thank you!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

A cantankerous senior citizen cross out senior citizen and insert long term friend), sometimes witty, sometimes toxic: how much do you sympathize and help her before reminding yourself she’s a chore, she’s not your blood, soon enough she’ll die, and you can turn away? Does the answer change if she is your blood?

I'm here, right now, right this second, and I haven't a clue

BANJO52 said...

PA, glad you dropped by. I've seen you at AH any number of times.

Heavy stuff you bring. I think I've been in a similar place, both with and without blood, and I don't have a clue either. But something about that movie made me think they get it, they really feel the problem. I suppose "they" means writer-director as well as actors.

Would you say that the old line, "We can't choose our family, but we can choose our friends" has its limitations?

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