August 19, 2015

People Places Things (2015)

People Places Things (2015) - Movie Review
Directed by: James C. Strouse
Country: USA

Movie Review: “People, Places, Things”, a moderately funny but tenderly articulated indie comedy, written and directed by James C. Strouse, reveals a gracious delicacy that comes mostly from Jemaine Clement’s casual performance. Here he plays Will Henry, a New Zealander comic book artist and teacher who faces the worst disappointment of his life when he walks in on his wife, Charlie (Stephanie Allynne) having sex with their off-Broadway monologist friend, Gary (Michael Chernus), during the birthday party of their twin daughters. The narrative jumps one year after, and we find Will, now separated from Charlie, immersed in his drawings, in which he represents himself with a speech balloon ‘I just want to be alone’. Everything becomes bitterer when Charlie let him know that she’s pregnant and is considering getting married to Gary. Will’s disordered state can be pretty noticeable – the difficulty to concentrate himself on simple tasks and often confusing the days of the week – especially when his daughters are staying with him. Suddenly, a weird invitation from one of his students, Kat (Jessica Williams), breaks his routine. Kat invites him to dinner at her place, not with her, but with her mother, Diane (Regina Hall), an American literature teacher, who tolerantly accepts her daughter’s scheme but promptly assures the host she's seeing someone else. Will, who had mistaken sole fish for pork cutlets, didn’t leave the place with many expectations. But life is a road with many twists and turns, and Will is once again at Diane’s door, this time to convince her daughter to skip his own class in order to babysit his cute little twin girls. Diane and Will take the opportunity to find that they have much more in common than they initially thought and start seeing each other. This provokes an outbreak of jealousy in Charlie, making Will extremely confused. The jokes are thrown with a serious tone, producing a positive effect, however, there is a final scene (involving Will and Gary) that feels manipulatively strained.

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