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People Places Things finds writer-director Jim Strouse in peak form -- and makes the most of talented stars who help breathe fresh life into familiar narrative territory.
All Critics (53)
| Top Critics (19)
| Fresh (41)
| Rotten (12)
Strouse offers a light treatment of a heavy situation. And the longer it goes, the deeper the sense of reality, the better the scenes. That's more than unusual. Most films get worse in the third act, not better.
We know these characters are going through a lot, even if we don't always see it. And so, this short, ramshackle, shrinking movie manages to stick with you.
There are two reasons to check out People Places Things - but neither the lead actors nor the characters they play are among them.
Perhaps the wimpy ending is exactly what wishy-washy Will Henry deserved. I, on the other hand, deserved better.
Small, smart and inescapably independent, "People Places Things" has its own offbeat and charmingly low-key way of seeing the world.
Strouse has come up with a near-perfect blend of awkward wit and good-natured sweetness.
Strouse's ongoing emphasis on overly off-kilter instances of comedy and character development sometimes prevents the viewer from entirely embracing the material...
Nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, the film has plenty of smart, witty lines, and Clement is the perfect actor to give them life.
Clement's predilection for center stage is real and actually kind of astounding, pole-vaulting James Strouse's low-key romantic comedy into something much sturdier.
Strouse has a built a career on small, personal stories, and this film is no different.
Clement is better-suited as a foil to Conchord-like absurdity, where it works as a droll counterweight.
People Places Things is a mildly amusing observational comedy about relationships that has its droll moments.
loved this film, simple but effective story just done one hundred percent correct. This is the type of film that misses the mainstream audience and deserves a cult following. Really funny, heartfelt look at divorce and the life we live after everything falls apart. Films like this remind me why I got into filmmaking in the first place
James C. Strouse is best known for films following men's transformations via either personal growth or an unforeseen event in their lives. Mostly known for being the screenwriter on the indie films "Lonesome Jim," "Grace is Gone," and "The Winning Season," Strouse directed and wrote this tale of a graphic artist who has to piece his life together after his partner cheats on him and breaks apart his family. Alone and embittered, our main character Will (Clement) has to learn how to balance his new life with raising his twin daughters, having a new relationship with his ex, writing a new novel, and engaging with a literature professor from Columbia who throws him for a loop. Threaded together by Will's drawings, this little indie comedy fuses together the drama of a mixed family, and the absurdity of what life throws at us.
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This is a film that does not have an original bone in its body, and this goes back to a film I reviewed a couple of days ago, called 100 Days, where I said that the fact that it isn't original isn't that much of an issue when you have other strong elements backing you up. Whether that is the performances, the writing, cinematography, etc, etc. And that is the case with this movie, there's absolutely nothing about this that is completely unique to this. I don't wanna say it borrows from other films, but it's familiar to films that you've seen in the past and will very likely see again. What it does have, however, is a really strong cast and a damn good script that does a lot to elevate this film from its familiar narrative ground. One of the things I liked about the movie is that, in a lot of these, the other parent, upon leaving for another person, is almost always made out to be an asshole. While I think the perception from some people will be that Charlie was kind of a bitch for how she left Will, and she definitely did go about it the wrong way, but I think there's so much more to what happened than just Charlie cheating on Will during their twin daughters' fifth birthday party. I'm not saying the film is super complex or deep, but I think it does make sure so as to not completely oversimplify the characters to just being a one-word description. What was disappointing, however, is that the film, sort of does away with Will's relationship with his daughters after he drops them off at Kat's mother's place, Kat being one of his students. After that, the movie just sort of forgets about them and their role in Will's life and they focus more on his romantic life. Not that there's a problem with that, in theory, it's just that the stuff with Will and his daughters is actually some of the best stuff in the film because it feels so natural. I don't think it gives in to sentimentality as much as you'd think given that Will is trying to do anything he can to spend as much time with his daughters, so that's always a positive. But, like I said, the film gets rid of the daughters after a certain point and I thought that was a little disappointing. Not that the romance elements of the film were bad, because they're actually better than what you're used to, but I liked how they balanced the two parts of Will's life. So this is definitely not without its flaws, but I really enjoyed this movie. It's a movie that's really easy to watch. It's unpretentious and it moves at a real fast pace, I was actually almost surprised by how fast this film went by. But I digress, a really strong cast and great writing help make up for a lot of its issues. It's not perfect, but I would definitely recommend it.
A graphic novelist's wife leaves him, and he must repair his life to parent his two daughters and pursue a new love interest.
This is a sweet but predictable, good natured gem of a comedy. It's one of those films that seeks to deliver innocuous chuckles and leave you feeling like the world isn't that shitty after all, and mostly it does what it sets out to do. Jemaine Clement does a good dead-pan straight man, but there isn't a farcical counter-balance, so he's mostly reacting to his own stimuli, and the supporting cast all play their parts admirably, especially Stephanie Allynne who's in the awkward position of playing the heavy against all the comic ridiculousness.
Overall, People Places Things is an unassuming delight.
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