Friday, August 21, 2015
PEOPLE PLACES THINGS (2015)
Written & Directed By: James C. Strouse
Cinematography By: Chris Teague
Editor: Colleen Sharp Cast: Jemaine Clement, Jessica Williams, Regina Hall, Stephanie Allynne, Michael Chernus
Tells the story of Will Henry, a newly single graphic novelist father balancing single-parenting his young twin daughters, writers block, a classroom full students, all the while exploring and navigating the rich complexities of new love and letting go of the woman who left him.
This is a nice low key film. It seems like nothing's really happening. Like it is a small story, but it runs an emotional gambit. Though chooses to not go overboard on the dramatics and looks more at the funny and silly side of certain situations. Overall it’s earnestness and sweetness prevails just like the lead performance by Jemaine Clement.
The film manages to make me completely hate one character, but at least sympathize and see it from her point of view partially.
I have watched so far most of James Strouse's films and they are usually filled with a melancholy dread. A deep seated sadness that involve everyday life. I have to say that so far this is his happiest and most upbeat film to date.
I believe partially this is due to Jemaine clement who sells the depression and despair of his character, but also displays his decency. Sense of humor and general awkwardness. As most of the film he is more the sad sack.
To me he can do no wrong. Even when he appears in films I didn't like. He is usually one of the more captivating elements of the film. He is always a welcome surprise. Who I am surprised is not a better known talent. He seems to still be under the radar and more of a cult or fringe talent.
Jessica Williams playing his student who is a catalyst for his move forward has a cool, geek confidence. That makes her alluring, trustworthy and makes you want to see more of her.
Regina Hall. Is a total surprise. Here playing a more emotionally fragile yet confident mother. She looks too young to play, yet is masterful in her scenes. It's nice to see her play more of a full multi-dimensional character. Instead of her more comedic roles. She comes away with the film and our hearts. Even though she is only in a Handful of scenes. She is unforgettable throughout her and Clement have a natural slow burn chemistry.
I believe the film works on a level because even if you aren't a parent or married. You still can relate to a bunch of subjects, situations, characters and elements the film brings up.
Even though the film is barely 90 minutes it inhabits it's own world so thoroughly. That you feel you have taken a journey with everyone in the film. So that they are like a second family to you by the end of the film.
It might help that he film also deals with an interest of mine. Graphic novels and the art and artists behind them. Though it mainly touches on it. Not going too deep. In that manner it also makes a fine companion piece with the film SAVE THE DATE. Though this film for me is much better and morn thorough.
Yes it's heartwarming but in more a detached minorly cynical way. It's not complicated or complex. It's a nice clean simple Story. That I found myself strangely identifying with and feels like the type of story you would see In an autobiographical graphic novel.
Throughout the movie the overall appeal and message is starting over and hope.