Catherine Keener Shines in Nicole Holofcener’s Rewarding ‘Please Give’

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CHICAGO – Writer/director Nicole Holofcener (“Lovely and Amazing,” “Friends With Money”) has an amazing ability to write characters that immediately feel genuine. It helps to have an actress as free of artifice as Catherine Keener as your regular lead but we shouldn’t diminish Holofcener’s rare ear for dialogue that actually sounds like it wasn’t created by a screenwriting machine.

As she has done before, Holofcener puts lives on display that feel like they could be your neighbors. They are usually deeply flawed characters but also immensely relatable. It’s so rare to see dramedies with people who one believes existed before the cameras started rolling and will go on after the credits roll. “Please Give” proves that a film can be a spectacularly rewarding experience by just providing time spent with well-written, believable adult characters.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Please Give” in our reviews section.

Kate (Catherine Keener) has started to feel the weight of moral guilt. She makes a living selling the belongings of the recently deceased in her secondhand shop. But she’s not a typical movie vulture. She presents her business as a sort one-stop-solution for relatives mourning recently lost loved ones. Imagine the time it would take to go through all of your grandmother’s belongings and sell them piece by piece. Kate will take most of the big pieces off your hands for a reasonable price. Of course, she’ll re-sell them for much more.

The guilt over Kate’s unusual business situation is exacerbated a bit by the fact that she and her husband (Oliver Platt) are basically playing deathwatch with the irascible old lady who lives next door. As most major city dwellers will tell you, the only way to get a bigger apartment is to take your neighbor’s. The morally gray life that Kate leads has led to some unusual behavior in her attempts to repent, including basically supporting the homeless tranny who lives in front of her apartment and trying to do volunteer work but getting too emotional to do so.

StarContinuing reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Please Give” review.

‘Please Give’ stars Catherine Keener, Rebecca Hall, Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet, Lois Smith, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Sarah Steele. It was written and directed by Nicole Holofcener. It opens on May 7th, 2010. It is rated R.

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Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

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