Life gets knotty when successful Manhattan couple Alex (Oliver Platt) and Kate (Catherine Keener) develop a relationship with the granddaughters of Andra (Ann Morgan Guilbert), the cantankerous elderly woman who owns the apartment next to theirs — and who must die so they can expand their home. The all-star cast includes Amanda Peet, Rebecca Hall and Lois Smith in this indie feature from writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Friends with Money).
Rating: 5 out of 10
“Please Give” feels like an off-Broadway play. It’s simple, with people and families, dialogue and atmosphere that feel real. It has interesting characters, humorous moments that add levity, but ultimately lacks drive.
We’re given a handful of interesting characters — a couple that buys furniture from the families of dead people to sell them in a high-end story. They have a bratty teenager who wants designer jeans and has low-self image because of acne. There’s a cranky old bitty who lives next door with her two grandchildren; one an unlikable lush who has an affair with the husband, the other a doe-eyed church mouse looking for love. The family bought the bitty’s apartment in advance and are just waiting for the woman to die so they can expand theirs.
This film has a great cast with realistic performances. The story works, and the characters revolved around it pretty smoothly. They try to develop them all, but because they do, the story is spread thin. It just never feels like it’s going anywhere. The lack of focus didn’t decrease the pleasure I had watching it, because I liked it. There was just something missing.