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Saturday, October 23, 2010

DVD Review: "Please Give"

"You're a good person."
Usually when we have to witness a loved one slowly deteriorate on their last precious moments on earth, we try to celebrate his/her life to the fullest. But in writer/director Nicole Holofcener's indie dramedy Please Give, grandma Andra's impending death brings a riff between a neighboring married couple who's anticipating how they'll redecorate her apartment when she goes, and a further divide between her two opposite granddaughters--one of whom cannot stand being around her.

Oscar nominee Catherine Keener (Capote) plays Kate, an antique store owner and proud mom and wife to Alex (played by Oliver Platt). Always generous, Kate can't walk by a homeless man without giving him the last $20 in her pocket. But she has an attack of the conscious when she realizes that she may be profiting from the death of others when she re-sells items of the deceased at her store. This realization for Kate forces her to rethink her purpose in life.

Though Kate's tried to play nice with her neighbor Andra and her two granddaughters Rebecca and Mary [played by Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet (in a shockingly better than decent performance)], she's usually met with aloofness and/or disdain. But an unusual dinner party gathering brings each character closer together, and some not for the best. Relationships are formed and circumstances force them to see themselves, and each other, for who they really are.

Funny at times, Please Give is a surprisingly heartwarming coming-of-age film for six adults all passing through different stages of heir life. Peet gives a shockingly better than decent performance as the selfish granddaughter silently suffering from her own demons Mary and Rebecca Hall shines as the granddaughter who couldn't stop giving for her beloved grandmother until life forced her to see a brighter picture. Together with Catherine Keener's wonderful performance, Hall brings heart to an otherwise dry film.

Reel Talk rating: A-

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