Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Please Give

Please Give” is one of those smart comedy-dramas about neurotic New Yorkers that aren’t nearly as prevalent as people like to think. It stars Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt as a husband-and-wife team who make a living buying then selling the furniture of the recently deceased. They get caught up in the lives of a dysfunctional family consisting of an ailing Ann Guilbert, and her self-sabotaging grand-daughters, Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet, having bought the old lady’s apartment, since it’s next door to theirs, with a view to taking it over once she goes; indeed, the scene where they discuss this in her presence is creepily funny, especially when the acerbic Guilbert matter-of-factly joins in. The focus is on Keener’s liberal guilt, which tends to shade into maudlin self-indulgence at the expense of her own family relationships, which is, I guess, the point. It is written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, whose “Walking and Talking” and “Lovely and Amazing” I’ve previously enjoyed. The balance between comedy and drama is well-judged (perhaps more so than in much of Woody Allen’s more recent work, which sometimes soft-pedals on emotional pain), and the performances are spot-on – Sarah Steele as the couple’s teenage daughter is engaging and annoying in equal measure, and Peet seems to relish being the bitch. The film does appear to exist in a universe where Rebecca Hall has trouble finding a boyfriend, though, but that’s the only unintentional false note.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home