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Please Give (2010)

tomatometer

87

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 134
Fresh: 116 | Rotten: 18

Nicole Holofcener's newest might seem slight in places, but its rendering of complex characters in a conflicted economic landscape is varied, natural, and touching all the same.

80

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 8

Nicole Holofcener's newest might seem slight in places, but its rendering of complex characters in a conflicted economic landscape is varied, natural, and touching all the same.

audience

64

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 11,304

My Rating

Movie Info

A family looking for some extra space gets drawn into a difficult relationship with the folks next door in this comedy drama from writer and director Nicole Holofcener. Kate (Catherine Keener) and Alex (Oliver Platt) are a couple living in New York City who run a successful store specializing in vintage furniture. Kate and Alex have a teenage daughter, Abby (Sarah Steele) and their apartment is starting to feel a bit small for the three of them; Kate and Alex own the unit next door to them, and

R,

Comedy

Nicole Holofcener

Oct 19, 2010

$4.0M

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (134) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (116) | Rotten (18) | DVD (2)

Keener has become Holofcener's artistic alter ego. In Please Give, the sharp-eyed filmmaker sends her vibrant representative out into the world to explore what it means for a woman to be lucky and still feel itchy.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nicole Holofcener, who writes the most interesting female characters in the movies, delivers another dazzling role to her muse, Catherine Keener, in Please Give, a delightfully dry dramedy about guilt.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Comment (1)
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Life-goes-on movies usually don't electrify the senses, but this one stimulates moral imagination.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nicole Holofcener's lovely Please Give is a small, modest movie, full of the sort of characters we might know, or be.

June 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Holofcener's biggest ally against nauseating self-pity is Keener, her screen alter ego.

June 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Happily, the joy outweighs the guilt.

June 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You have to be smart and funny and really aware of yourself to write and direct a film like this, which is exactly what director Nicole Holofcener is.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies.com
Movies.com

Doesn't have much plot, just characters interacting and developing, and its lack of a need for drama is refreshing.

January 25, 2011 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Its conclusions are thoughtful and non-judgmental; satisfying even if it pulls a few punches.

September 10, 2010 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National | Comment (1)
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

Holofcener takes pretty much everything you're not supposed to talk about at a dinner party and spins it into a ruefully awkward, bone-dry comedy.

September 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

The film is more emotionally incisive than it initially appears to be, but equally it ties together a little too neatly when it already has such a concise running time.

September 9, 2010 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au | Comment (1)
sbs.com.au

Keener never lets us lose sight of something possibly redeemable about Kate, a move which ultimately saves her performance from lapsing into an easy social caricature.

September 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia) | Comment (1)
Herald Sun (Australia)

Please Give isn't laugh-out-loud funny, it is witty and clever-a pleasing tale where not much happens, but spending time with the film's characters is enough.

September 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Trespass
Trespass

The main problem with the film, though, is that it seems to assume that self-obsessed and charmless people are automatically interesting - just for being people. There's definitely a flaw in that logic.

September 7, 2010 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia) | Comment (1)
FILMINK (Australia)

It's involving and often gripping with wonderful performances by a top cast, although the sum of its parts is less than the story as a whole

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

The film lives at that uneasy intersection between affluence and compassion, where the well-meaning well-to-do try to figure out how much of their wealth they need to give away to make a difference.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Wisconsin State Journal | Comment (1)
Wisconsin State Journal

Writer-director Nicole Holofcener seems to get better with every film, and now she's cruising along the well-trodden path of neurotic New Yorker comedy-drama with grace and comely confidence.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Please Give is quintessential Holofcener -- a loopy, episodic ensemble story of women dealing with marriage, money and men, but it's also her smartest, most disciplined movie to date.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News | Comment (1)
Philadelphia Daily News

Keener, one of the most reliably entertaining actresses currently working, specializes in sardonic, flawed characters -- a perfect fit for Holofcener's image of the modern American woman.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com | Comment (1)
EricDSnider.com

Holofcener writes, and helps to shape on-screen, characters we often don't even like, and what do we do? We invite them home with us. Talk about a soft touch.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

A stroll with these characters is a refreshing break from from the usual film exercises.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Comment (1)
Austin Chronicle

The acting quality is strong, especially from the ever-reliable Catherine Keener as Kate, but it's almost impossible to care about her character's dilemmas.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Eye for Film | Comments (2)
Eye for Film

Wryly humane

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Audience Reviews for Please Give

A deceivingly simple dramedy that's packs enough subtle, emotional complexity for multiple films. "Please Give" is a flawlessly acted showcase for one of the sweetest screenplays in recent memory. How do you NOT like this movie?
October 1, 2013
YLOWBSTARDreturns

Super Reviewer

Here you have a one trick pony - something perhaps better suited as a TV sitcom... and it plays like one, sad to say. There's very little character development with each character a cardboard bit of archtype, providing very little tension as it slickly moves from predictable plot thread to predictable plot thread.

In a nutshell, you have a New York couple who deal in "reclaimed" furniture. The big secret is how they get said furniture. You see, the couple, aptly played by Platt and Keener swoop in on estate sales and the like, taking advantage of those in mourning or those just unaware; picking up prime pieces for peanuts and then later selling them at huge profits.

The one trick pony is that Keener is feeling guilty. How very un-capitalistic of her! Of course she realizes that if she and her husband weren't doing it, someone else would be (as the film shows in one of the few bright scenes, where another dealer takes advantage of Keener's feeling of guilt, getting a table for 4k which he then sells at his own shop for 7 - ain't America great?).

Thrown into the mix is the totally superfluous role of the 15 year old daughter - who has no real purpose, but somehow the director decides to make into a major character anyway (the repeated riff on the 200 buck pair of jeans is boring and repetitive - and to end the film with her receiving the holy grail attempts to give this not so subtle statement about consumerism far more weight than it should. Of course even here, the message is mixed, as it could equally be argued that you get what you pay for. After several attempts at cheaper jeans (which don't fit), the daughter finally wins out when the expensive pair fit her better - and give the daughter a much needed boost in her self esteem (ooh, another message!).

There is attempted black humor as Platt and Keener are waiting for the 90 year old woman next door to die so they can buy her apartment and tear down the walls to make their place larger. The old bag is direct to a fault, ha ha, and when you add in her two granddaughters, one a mouse who cares for grandma, and the other a shrew who predictably ends up bedding Platt, you get the kind of plotting and script that might last a full season as a "real life" sitcom. But as a feature film.... You have every right to expect more. I walked away from this film without an ounce of caring for any of the characters - the film played so trite and felt so scripted and melodramatic that I simply cannot believe all the wonderful reviews this high school play has received. Unreal and phony - if this is what "in the know" New Yorkers think is real - I'm eternally grateful I live on the opposite coast.

In over 300 films reviewed, this one ranks near the bottom - not because it's spectacularly bad, but because it pretends to be art and a look at real life - and delivers neither one.
November 7, 2011
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

I think that Nicole Holofcener has my kind of humor, that sort of mean-spirited, abrupt, non sequitur kind where you laugh really hard and then immediately afterward feel really bad for laughing. And I also like that there's always a tint of melancholy spotted in every stretch of dialogue, no matter what the mood. It brings you down to earth, somehow.
May 1, 2011
jennifxu

Super Reviewer

Delightful dark comedy by Nicole Holofcener. Please Give is so rewarding because there's real pain behind the humor. The characters are very well layered: they're not the most likeable bunch (Amanda Peet's is just plain evil), but Holofcener somehow managed to make an affecting yet enjoyable film out of these obnoxious people. As was the case with the director's previous film, Friends With Money, the cast is superb. Frequent collaborator Catherine Keener, perpetually underrated Rebecca Hall and Ann Guilbert shine.
March 22, 2011
    1. Kate: Old furniture has ghosts.
    – Submitted by Frances H (9 months ago)
    1. Andra: You gained weight. You gained weight.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Alex: We buy from the children of dead people.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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