Nicole Holofcener makes movies about people I recognize. It is a relief to sit in the theater and not have to watch young men shooting each other, or middle aged men pairing off with very young women, or young men in buddy movies where the arc of the story begins with pure foolishness and ends with a little less foolishness. I know that I will see the Iron Man movie (I love Robert Downey Jr) and will be tempted by Robin Hood (Russell Crowe is no slouch) but still, superheroes and medieval legends are not the concern of my everyday life.
So when middle aged women with inner lives are portrayed on the screen I snap it up. Why should Meryl Streep have a lock on this?
This is Holofcener's specialty, and Please Give is her latest and most wonderful. I read that Catherine Keener is her muse.
Long live Catherine Keener.
The movie begins with a series of mammograms shown while the Roches sing "No Shoes" in the background. It was inevitable that mammograms would feature in a film at some point. Accompanying the images with such a finger snapping tune leavens the tone and introduces a breast technician as a leading character. The movie shows how we feel about cast off furniture and clothes of the dead, and our ambivalence at living in the richest city in the world while surrounded by the homeless.
Any mother who has ever lived with a daughter whose whole feeling of self worth centers on having the right pair of jeans will also recognize herself in this movie.