This past week I saw two films that were both noteworthy. The first film is Please Give. It stars Catherine Keener as Kate and Oliver Platt as her husband Alex. Kate and Alex are moderately successful furniture store owners that procure their inventory by more or less stalking the estates of occupants who are either about to die or who recently departed.
Given their occupational choice it’s hard for them not to think about the possibilities of everyone around so much so that they buy two adjacent apartments specifically because its neighbor is an elderly woman. The opportunity means they can immediately begin planning to expand into the second apartment as soon as the old woman dies.
While Alex has long ago come to terms with his chosen vocation Kate clearly seems to be growing conflicted. She begins to wonder about the morality of it all and even her subconscious seems under assault causing her to feel compelled to hand any money she has available to homeless people she bumps into and landing her at various charities looking for the right fit to volunteer her time. The problem is that she’s only doing it out of a sense of guilt instead of any real desire to want to help.
The film is an absolute perfect example of what qualifies as an artsy dark comedy. In other words most people would find it a complete bore. It’s long, very slow and the term “comedy” is applied about as loosely as possible. I don’t recall laughing more than twice during the entire movie and even then only lightly so.
That doesn’t mean the film is bad. Quite the contrary. The acting is superb including wonderful performances from Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet as the granddaughters of the old woman. Everyone here draws you into their characters fully.
Please Give is a strong effort that simply should be seen only by those who don’t mind movies this dark.