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Please Give... at the Box Office

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

There's an amazing new 3D Catherine Keener movie out directed by Nicole Holofcener. You know, the real 3 D's? Death. Divorce. Disaster.

 Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peet et Catherine Keener

PLEASE GIVE, which opens April 30, deals with all of these  big special effects in life that most of us would rather escape from.  "It's nice when we laugh," Keener noted, "because there is some very heavy material" in PLEASE GIVE.   

But, like in Holofcener's earlier films FRIENDS WITH MONEY also with Catherine Keener and LOVELY & AMAZING, you just get immersed in the story of furniture aficionado Kate (Keener), her over-carbed business-partner husband Alex (Oliver Platt), and uncensored teen daughter Abby (Sarah Steele) who are on death watch, as they wait for the old lady next door Andra (Ann Guilbert) to croak so they can increase their square footage by buying her co-op. 

"Catherine's character is in the midst of figuring out what gives her life meaning and what makes her feel good and bad about herself," Holofcener said. "Our collaboration has grown. I'm spoiled, because it is so easy to direct her -- its so for her to direct me!"

Holofcener draws us into this new paradigm New York family as they deal with Andra's bipolar opposite graddaughters Rebecca (Rebecca Hall), the good seed, and Mary (Amanda Peet), who can't help but shine the brass tacks in her life. 

If you've followed Amanda Peet's career the whole nine yards, including her artier turn in Woody Allen's MELINDA AND MELINDA, you will be somewhat awed by her vulnerable breakthrough moments in PLEASE GIVE. "I begged Nicole for seven years to put me in a movie," Peet admitted. "I stalked her."

You could almost call this movie a coming of age performance for Amanda Peet in terms of range. "Nicole doesn't really write villains," she noted. "Everyone has villainous moments and everyone has sublime moments."

Perennial screen favorite Lois Smith (WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN, MINORITY REPORT, TWISTER), of the bold two-toned gray locks, is a welcome presence that ties the film together. Holofcener's casting choices are impeccable, including an arch cameo by unmistakeable voice talent Sarah Vowell of THE INCREDIBLES, who in real life is also a writer and NPR commentator. 

While any character-driven film shot in NYC has to crawl out from under the shadow of Woody Allen, PLEASE GIVE stands on its own showing three generations of urban women who know a thing about heavy lifting in terms of guilt and grief. 

Quendrith Johnson

Comments (1)

Quendrith Johnson. Award?

Cher Quendrith Johnson,

Award Suggestion? Gosh.

Sounds great, but your superhuman energy and accomplishments - charm and beauty too - deserves the award.

Probably so many awards already that you want to give some away.

From your bio - Once Physics, then to Film school. Now I understand our connection.


P.S. Do you ever get time to sleep?

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