Thursday, July 26, 2012

People Like Us Trimmed Review

To be completely honest, I saw People Like Us several weeks ago; I just never sat down to record my thoughts.  A sign of a good film (or at least a decent one) is that it leaves you with something to take away from it, whether it be an interesting story, fascinating characters, great dialogue.  Fortunately, PLU is one of those films.  While not revolutionary or anything stellar, it told a solid story, with fantastic actors putting in great performances.

PLU is based upon a true story (I haven't done any research into the validity of this claim): Sam's (Chris Pine) father, a famous Hollywood record producer, passes away and he's called back to his home for the funeral.  Upon meeting with his father's attorney, Sam learns that all he was left was his father's "shaving kit," which contained quite a bit of money and a note asking to take care of someone named Josh.  Sam eventually discovers that his father had a daughter, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), with another woman.  The bulk of the story deals with the ripples of this discovery in Sam's life: does he keep the money and forget about them?  Should he give them the money and walk away?  Perhaps get to know them?  What follows is a character-driven narrative that is incredibly fascinating and engaging to watch.

The true strength of PLU are the characters and the performances put into those characters.  I absolutely loved the entire cast and the work they put in.  Chris Pine's Sam is a deeply flawed and conflicted man who is trying to do the right thing at the possible detriment of his personal life; his girlfriend, Hannah (played by Olivia Wilde) returns to California upon learning that he may keep the money for himself and he is in potential legal trouble due to his business dealings.  He neglects his personal life and remains at home with his mother - the ever-fantastic Michelle Pfeiffer - who has some secrets of her own.  Elizabeth Banks' Frankie is a complicated woman with a complicated life; she's a single mother trying to provide for her son, Josh.  The narrative weaves in and out of Sam's, Frankie's lives and their increasingly-frequent interactions.  The relationship built between the two is incredibly natural and a joy to watch unfold; and indeed it eventually unfolds in a heart-wrenching climax that was painful, poignant, and incredibly well-done.

While nothing spectacular, PLU is a very solid character drama, and a fantastic feature directorial debut from Alex Kurtzman.  The only real complaint I had with the film is that it dragged at times; with a run-time of almost two hours, probably 20-30 minutes could've been trimmed here and there to make it more of a tightly woven narrative piece.  That said, I enjoyed it immensely and would highly recommend it.

People Like Us is an engaging, well-executed character drama.

The Bearded Bullet

No comments:

Post a Comment