Please Give

GIANT Guest-post: Kati Nolfi on “Please Give”, Catherine Keener, and the Holofcener oeuvre

“Oh my God!” and “This is horrible!” clucked and gasped the audience of Please Give.  They were responding to the film’s many cynical and self involved remarks.  It wasn’t as antisocial as a Todd Solondz film, but people are unused to women representing and speaking their ugly truth on film.   Nicole Holofcener’s movies show angry, bitchy, unhappy characters—usually women—in unflattering lights, such as laughingly wondering if you can fuck in a wheelchair, or hoping for the death of an elderly person. But unlike other directors who show the worst of human relationships—Neil Labute, for example—Holofcener has compassion for her characters.  She and her actors create multidimensional portraits of women, mostly white and upper class.  When she attempted to deal with race in Lovely & Amazing, it was awkward.  For all the flaws and missteps in Holofcener’s movies, they address class when most films do not.  There is honesty in these movies about how class separates people, how we hang out with our own kind, though sometimes I wonder how critical she is being.  And her women, as horrible as they may be, are respected as whole fallible humans.


Film / 11 Comments
June 3rd, 2010 / 1:56 pm