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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Relationships > Antiques > Please Give (2010/Sony Blu-ray)

Please Give (2010/Sony Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Film: B-



It was not that long ago we used to get small, smart films all the time that worked and had something to offer.  Cutbacks and very bad decisions on the part of every production company and movie studio around (including shutting down subdivisions) has killed this very much of late.  Now when a smaller film comes along, it is too often a bad package deal with no point and that is a sad statement on filmmaking today.  Fortunately, Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give (2010) is one of the few recent exceptions.


Oliver Platt (Bulworth, Kinsey, Frost/Nixon) and Catherine Keener (Capote, 8MM, Out Of Sight) play a married couple running a successful antiques store, but the business is starting to come with the emotional string attached about the ethics of making money on the property they get from people who have died.  This becomes more contentious when she starts to suspect they are being spied on via visits to see what happened to what they bought (i.e., what are they charging) and a potential big gain is put on hold when a 92-year-old woman is not going to die anytime soon it seems.


Then they’re daughter Abby (Sarah Steele) is having personal crisis of her won and keeps clashing with her mother, plus the granddaughters of the elderly woman (Amanda Peet (Syriana, Igby Goes Down) and Rebecca Hall (The Prestige, Dorian Gray (2009))) become involved in various ways that only mix up matters all the more.


This is not a goofy film, it is a smart film, is a comedy and I found it much more engaging than expected with some good chemistry within the cast (including with Lois Smith from Five Easy Pieces, Up The Sandbox, Falling Down, Fatal Attraction) and fine performances all around that really work.  A little bit of it is predictable, but other scenes and points are on target and I found this more believable and consistent than expected.  A breakthrough for Director Holofcener, I hope this means she is about to establish herself as a formidable force of filmmaking because if this is not a fluke, she is well on her way.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is a little soft, but otherwise looks good for what is a 16mm film shoot, with some good color and decent shooting throughout overall.  Editing and the use of locations is a plus, all handled very well by Director of Photography Yaron Orbach (The Joneses) in what may be his best work to date.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix is not great for a film that was low budget, is essentially dialogue based and has a very limited soundfield.  I can sound warm and smooth, but don’t expect much, even with an engaging score by Marcelo Zarvos.  Extras include BD Live interactive features, Outtakes, Q&A with Director Holofcener and a behind the scenes featurette.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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