Tomorrow, the Alamo South Lamar is opening a film called PLEASE GIVE. It's one of those critically lauded films that comes out in the summer and is overshadowed by the bigger pictures like SEX AND THE CITY 2, THE A-TEAM, and GET HIM TO THE GREEK. Basically, it's a much appreciated respite from the explosions and gut-laughs that the mainstream fare offers us in the hot months.
You should see this movie. Starring indie darlings Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet, and Rebecca Hall (who wowed us all in 2008's VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA), PLEASE GIVE tells the story of a couple of New Yorkers who own two apartments. When they want to occupy one of their abodes, they realize that the current tenant standing in their way, an elderly matriarch, is a tough bird to defeat. Making matters worse, her two daughters are feisty and cynical, providing comic obstacles and guilt-ridden stumbling blocks.
The Austin Chronicle gives the film a very respectable three and a half stars. Marjorie Baumgarten sees the film as a feminist triumph from director Nicole Holofcener, "From the very opening images of Please Give, it is clear that Holofcener is determined to show us aspects of women’s lives rarely explored in feature films." Ty Burr of the Boston Globe echoes this sentiment, writing, "It’s the rare film to be owned by its women, both before the camera and behind it, and its emotional barometer is one of infinitely fine gradations."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls the film "rare and remarkable." He describes the pictures as "an unnervingly hilarious and heartfelt comedy of bad manners." That's a pretty good compliment, but nothing compared to the praise dished out by Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post, which honored the film with its "Critics Pick" distinction. She writes: "PLEASE GIVE is one of those movies that can be enjoyed simply for its funny portraits of human foibles and fumbling grasps at intimacy -- but it's also deceivingly profound. Holofcener has a knack for soothing viewers with the rhythms of quiet jokes and mordant moments and then ambushing them with scenes of breathtaking sweetness and meaning."
Roger Ebert offers us a fine overview of the whole picture: "The movie is about imperfect characters in a difficult world, who mostly do the best they can under the circumstances, but not always. Do you realize what a revolutionary approach that is for a movie these days?"
Ok, you're convinced to see it. Good. It starts tomorrow at Alamo South Lamar. Skip on work, take a long lunch break, schedule your date as a dinner and a movie, whatever, just see PLEASE GIVE.