When: Thursday, 9 September - Wednesday, 6 October
Where: Various cinemas
How much: $15
Nicole Holofcener's peculiar brand of comedic, upper-middle class miserablism finds a pitch-perfect setting on the streets of New York. Once again proving her mastery of the ensemble cast, Holofcener has gathered the likes of Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet, alongside her cinematic staple Catherine Keener, to play out a neighbourly charade.
Kate and Alex (Keener and Platt) make a morally questionable living running a furniture store stocked with antiques they’ve bought on the cheap from grieving relatives. Their wealth has also allowed them to purchase the apartment next door, currently occupied by a wizened old crone, Andra (Ann Guilbert), for whom they must impatiently wait to pass away before they can begin their dream renovation. Andra’s two granddaughters (Hall and Peet) meet Kate, Alex and their spotty teenage daughter, Abby (Sarah Steele), for a birthday celebration, after which their lives become more intimately connected.
Please Give takes its place in Holofcener’s filmography (Walking and Talking, Lovely & Amazing, Friends with Money) as another shrewd, strongly written, female-driven dramedy. Relationships, death, guilt, money: Holofcener takes pretty much everything you’re not supposed to talk about at a dinner party and spins it into a ruefully awkward, bone-dry comedy. And don’t go expecting a rosy Hollywood ending either, for what Holofcener serves up instead will surely set chins wagging as you leave the cinema.
By Alice Tynan