PLEASE GIVE. Starring Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peet and Catherine Keener. Directed by Nicole Holfcener. Rated M (nudity, coarse language and sexual references). 91 minutes.
Nicole Holfcener has made several comedies, contemporary comedies of American manners, with a range of female characters, their issues, their concerns, the details of their lives (Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money). Please Give is in the same vein. Its 90 minutes pass quickly, giving the impression that this is a series of light anecdotes. Along with the light touch is a more serious vein of felling bad about the marginalised (socially, physically) but not knowing how a comfortable furnishings shop owner should manage this concern and act on it in practice. And the screenplay is sometimes sharply barbed which has us smiling though we disapprove of some of the characters who utter them.
The cast also sustains interest in the anecdotes, especially the reliable Catherine Keener as Kate, wife and mother (with Oliver Platt doing a relaxed but ambiguous turn though surprising and disappointing himself with some of his behaviour as the husband). Sarah Steele is their self-conscious, bad-skinned and sometimes thick-skinned concerning those in need, fifteen year old daughter. Next door is cantankerous 91 year old Andra, looked after by a shy granddaughter (a charming Rebecca Hall) and barely tolerated by the other granddaughter (Amanda Peet getting lots of the harsh lines).
Please Give won't make many demands. It passes time entertainingly but it is more than a time-passer.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Released: September 8