Friday, November 19, 2010

Please Give

Initially Published Here

Nicole Holofcener’s latest dramedy centers on a NYC couple (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) who make their living buying estate sale furniture and selling it at exorbitant mark-ups out of their chi-chi boutique. They do well enough to have purchased the apartment adjacent to their own which is currently occupied by nonagenarian Andra (Ann Guilbert), who is cared for by her granddaughters (Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet). Everyone involved tries hard not to think about the reality of waiting for poor Andra to die so that they can all get on with their lives in one way or another.

If that makes them sound like bad people … well, that’s the point that Holofcener’s film is struggling with. In fact, they’re not bad people, but that doesn’t keep them from doing bad things. The film’s pleasure is in watching these characters come to grips with their behavior and navigate towards some balance. It’s an honest and painfully funny depiction of human nature, perfectly cast and scripted. There’s nary a false note here.

This Blu-ray edition does an excellent job of making the best of the film’s obviously meager production values. And rather than the obligatory commentary track, the disc includes an insightful Q&A with the writer/director where she sheds additional light on the film.

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