Ron Millennor (FOX19)
Please Give is the best, smartest movie I've seen all year. The script (written and directed by Nicole Holofcener), the cast, everything about this film is nearly flawless. The story revolves around husband and wife Alex and Kate (played by the underrated Oliver Platt and the wonderful Catherine Keener).
Alex and Kate run a New York furniture store that is stocked with merchandise they buy from families who have recently lost a member. This business begins to weigh heavy on Kate as she struggles with the idea of turning a profit from somebody's loss. She attempts to reconcile that struggle by giving money to every homeless person she comes in contact with.
Added to Kate's guilt is knowing that she is waiting for her next door neighbor to die so her and Alex can buy the apartment, bust out the wall and make their home even bigger. Her neighbor Andra, is a 91 year old ill-mannered, sharp-tongued laugh riot who steals every scene she's in.
Andra is looked after by her two grandchildren, Mary and Rebecca (Amanda Peet and Rebecca Hall). Both girls are scarred by the suicide of their mother however, they express that pain in completely different ways. Rebecca is kind and nurturing but won't allow herself to enjoy life. Mary enjoys life a little too much. She's promiscuous, brash and a heavy drinker. Rebecca treats Andra with kid gloves while Mary prefers boxing gloves.
While the movie is an exploration of how all families are dysfunctional, in some way. It's bigger message is an ethical one...right vs. wrong, and the struggle we all face every day to try and reconcile our choices. In this season of summer blockbusters, no movie will hit you harder or affect you more than this one. Please give it a chance.