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Notes On a Film: Please Give

This falls under the same category for me as Greenberg: a film I wouldn’t have gone to see in the cinema if there had been the normal selection in the middle of the summer but wasn’t because the studios avoided the four weeks of the World Cup. This isn’t to belittle the film, but it’s a small indie comedy drama that doesn’t need the big screen to work.

Please Give is about Kate (Catherine Keener), who is happily married to Alex (Oliver Platt); they own a furniture store that gains its furniture from the estates of dead people. Kate feels guilty about this and tries to do volunteer job to compensate but always fails because she can’t really be bothered to actually see them through. They live in apartment next to an elderly woman, waiting for her to die so they can buy it and extend into it; she has two granddaughters, Rebecca (Rebecca Hall), a dowdy but nice radiology technician, and Mary (Amanda Peet), a vapid and vain cosmetologist, who ends up having an affair with Alex after all five people have dinner together.

Nothing much happens in the film – it is all about the interaction between these strange characters. The most positive thing that happens in the film is Rebecca develops a relationship with a nice young man after being introduced by the elderly relative Rebecca has been performing mammograms upon. The film is an oddity but still enjoyable for it; written and directed by Nicole Holofcener (maker of Walking and Talking, Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money), it is funny and well acted. Keener and Platt are good as usual (although I can’t see them as a couple), and Peet is good, but it is Hall who is really good, completely believable as a woman with no confidence and who puts others before herself to her own detriment.

Please Give is a good film, and I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you need to see it in the cinema.

Rating: VID

[Explanation of my updated film rating system]

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