The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

#DIFF2016: Other People

This melancholy-infused comedy brings us into the life of David who is returning home to care for his dying mother while he is experiencing hardship. His long-time boyfriend is breaking up with him and his television writing career is slowing down. Jesse Plemons, who plays David, executes the role perfectly. He’s stuck and has a sense of humor. He is also thrown off by his hometown a little bit. The story was based on the director and writer’s, Chris Kelly’s, life. It was one that I think millions of families can relate to across the U.S. The mother has cancer and it is incurable. The family cannot do anything but help her continue her life until the end.

Supporting characters give more breath to the film with their uplifting influence. For instance, David’s boyfriend is splitting up with him but one night they share jokes over past times. One can feel the connection between the two partners in a scene that I think helps the acceptance of a gay relationship. David has been living in New York for a while and when we see him there one can feel the hip late night vibe. David and his mother have a concrete relationship with each other that has been strengthened by his openness with her. It was lovely to see the scenes between the two characters as they laugh just like they’re good friends. David knows that his mother fully understands his sexual orientation and that she looks out for him the best that she can.

David’s mom’s, Joanne’s, sickness is stressed right as the film takes off. There is a New Year’s Eve scene where David has come home for the first time in this period and everybody’s hopping. David is greeted and is sort of amused by his family while thinking about a failed project. He and Joanne share a prior mentioned moment together as the scene soon sharply changes to Joanne throwing up. A scene like that reminds us in a measured way the balance that the film has between funny and serious. A scene that is comedic mastery is when the mother has died and the family is all on her bed. A call comes and a person leaves a message just now realizing that Joanne was sick while ordering Taco Bell. One thinks about the huge comedic value in that startling segment. Other People brought home the ball for me in its delicate comedy that is sure to please.
(Review by Wyatt Head)

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