Director: Nicole Holofcener
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet are sisters whose grandmother lives next to Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt, vultures who buy and sell the retro furniture of dead people and who want her apartment when she dies. Keener obsessively gives to charity and the homeless, but thinks nothing of ripping off her customers in a low-fi drama about people who are alternately venal, caring or hypocritical. Refreshingly, Please Give is pleasingly light on angst, meaning we’re not asked to wallow in misery, but instead examine reality in an everyday way rather than a painfully penetrating one. These are flawed but basically decent if somewhat damaged individuals, inhabited by wonderful actors. Writer-director Nicole Holofcener has mined similar seams in her previous films, and the results are highly reminiscent of Woody Allen, but more insightful and funnier than anything he’s done recently - see next week’s Whatever Works for proof of that.