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Please Give (DVD Review)

12 Oct, 2010 By: Miko Revereza

Street 10/19/10
Sony Pictures
Box Office $4 million
$28.95 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language, sex and nudity.
Stars Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peet.

Please Give is a study of human interaction in modern times, where the failsafes of old-fashioned politeness and courtesy to others have lost meaning in the big city.

Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt play the neighbors of Andra. They own a furniture store reselling finds of mid-century modernism at a high price tag. Andra, a homeridden elderly woman, is the antithesis to these thriving professionals. To say Andra is frank or straightforward is an understatement of her distastefully, blatant honesty. The woman, played by Ann Morgan Guilbert (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”) is well into her years, and everyone around her is anticipating her death, especially the neighbors who plan to extend their apartment into hers.

Embedded in the story are a haven of subplots exploring the characters’ strange habits: the wife’s need to excessively give money to homeless people out of guilt, the husband’s cover-up of lies to cover previous lies, the daughter’s obsession with a perfect pair of $200 jeans. Its funniest moments are the rude and uncivilized exchanges in the dialogue.

Please Give is director Nicole Holofcener and actress Catherine Keener’s fourth feature film collaboration following Friends With Money, Lovely and Amazing, and ’90s cult favorite Walking and Talking. Like her previous films, Holofcener channels her New York sensibilities in observing urban life and its pitfalls. Her uncanny sense of personality is realized in each of her carefully crafted characters.

The film is character-driven but doesn’t lack story. Its heartfelt moments are subtle yet profound and leave a lasting impression.

Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette and an engaging Q&A with Holofcener.

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