Mr. Movie

'Please Give' lives up to quality of cast, director

Movies with multi-dimensional characters are a treat. Add a deeper than average, could-be-real-life plot and I’m hooked.

Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt are a couple that make a very good living buying furniture and collectibles from estate sales on the cheap. She has twinges of guilt but also gets kind of tweaked when someone takes advantage of them in the same way. To alleviate her guilt, she passes out money to panhandlers.

It annoys her teen daughter. Mom generously gives bucks to derelicts but won’t spend an extra few on her for a new pair of designer jeans. Then there’s the 90-year old lady next door who thinks the couple is waiting for her to die so they can A) get the collectibles and furniture and B) expand their apartment into hers.

Writer/director Nicole Holofcener (Friends with Money) is being compared to Woody Allen. It fits. She takes the complexity of couple’s relationship to their daughter, the woman next door, the woman’s granddaughters and their relationships and the individual stories of each character and sends Please Give into wonderful, sometimes funny and always very human and revealing directions.

Her tasty writing, dialogue and insight into the human condition is not only spot on, but it is brilliant. She creates open-ended characters whose ordinary lives are so fascinating that when the credits roll you’re wondering why Transformers gets a sequel and not them.

Go back to the Mr. Movie page to see my interview with Holofcener.

Rated R for mature themes, language. It opens Friday, June 18 at the Carmike 12.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars

5 stars/4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.

4 stars / 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars / 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars / 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.