Monday, November 22, 2010

Love the ones you're with

The other night my daughter and I watched "Please Give". It has been a while since we watched a movie together, but since we both liked "Friends with Money" I figured this was a good one to share. Grandbaby N, aka Miss Fussypants, slept in my arms the whole time, only occasionally throwing her arms wide with a start when I laughed out loud.

Anyway, the movie was lovely and amazing. (That's a Nicole Holofcener joke. Sort of.) "Please Give" is about how we look to the world outside for answers to our internal angst. It is easier (if sometimes embarrassing) to try to help a stranger than throw a little love and kindness in the general direction of our family and neighbors.

There's Kate who is feeling guilty about how she and her husband earn their living, buying the used furniture of recently deceased people (the grown children can't be bothered to dispose of it properly) and then selling it for a tidy profit. Her husband Alex experiences no such guilt, but fears he has "hit the wall" even though his skin is still good. Their 15-year-old daughter Abby is, well, fifteen, hates dishonesty, and is having the usual weight- and acne-centric problems. Then there is the elderly neighbor Andra - Kate and Alex have bought her apartment and are waiting for her to die so they can expand. Andra has two granddaughters; Rebecca is the "good" one and Mary is the "bad" one, both stuck in ruts, as is Andra. The Rebecca is the first to find a new view on life - a new boy friend and his grandmother help. Andra never does.

I have become a fan of Nicole Holofcener, even though I don't always get her. Her movies consist of multiple stories of nearly equal import, and the stories brush up against each other in subtle and catalytic ways. At least, it's subtle to me. And I love the candid dialog, the kind of stuff that civilized folk stifle.

I have seen Catherine Keener in way more movies than I realized, most of them directed and written by Holofcener. Oliver Platt is totally recognizable, of course. Amanda Peet is another familiar face, as is Ann Guilbert (marble rye) and Lois Smith. I did not recognize Sarah Steele, Rebecca Hall, or Thomas Ian Nicholas (gah - he has three first names).

When my SO and I were in NYC one April, the windows were full of spring fashions, all in black and Amish blue. It seemed like almost everyone in this movie wore black with a touch of turquoise. I'm going to assume this is commentary on NYC fashion. You can too.

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