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Friday, March 23, 2012

Please Give (2010)

A woman (Catherine Keener) who buys furnishings from estate sales and survivors of the deceased and resells them for a much higher profit has guilt feelings which cause her to give generous amounts of money to the homeless on the New York streets. Meanwhile, the cantankerous old woman (Ann Morgan Guilbert, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW) is being taken care of my her two granddaughters, one love and caring (Rebecca Hall, THE TOWN) and the other, cynical and bitchy (Amanda Peet). In the narrative sense, nothing much happens, it's really a series of moments. But as she showed with her last film, the wonderful FRIENDS WITH MONEY, director Nicole Holofcener has a feel for the rhythm of the way everyday angst overcomes our lives, how the most normal emotion becomes a near crisis. PLEASE GIVE's characters have all hit a wall in their lives and like a trapped animal sniff and scratch in desperation to find a way through that wall. Holofcener doesn't judge her characters nor does she offer any solutions. But her empathy breaks down any resistance we may have about the often self involved characters. A lovely gem. With Oliver Platt as Keener's husband, Sarah Steele, Thomas Ian Nicholas and the wonderful Lois Smith (FIVE EASY PIECES).

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