Under Review: ‘Please Give’


As a New Yorker, I have become jaded about the problem of homelessness. It’s extremely rare for me to donate to someone less fortunate than myself because I’ve seen so many homeless individuals.

But to my surprise, a couple of weeks ago I became interested in a film entitled “Please Give.” The movie stars the immensely talented Catherine Keener as Kate, a successful used-furniture salesperson who tries to heal her personal guilt by volunteering and donating. Ironically, the characters in the film are not givers, but instead are takers.

Kate and her husband, Alex, who is played ineptly by Oliver Platt, are “vultures” who wait out the deaths of the elderly in their neighborhood in order to buy and resell their furniture. On top of that, Alex is a schmuck who cheats on his wife, and their daughter is endlessly whiny and annoying as she constantly begs for expensive facials and jeans.

In the trailers, Kate is presented as an intriguing protagonist but the actual film never explores her reasoning for compulsively donating. It’s a shame that “Please Give” portrays them in sheer greed.

I went into the film with caution. I’ve already heard stories of director Nicole Holofcener’s other film, “Friends With Money,” being poorly advertised and having seen her latest endeavor, I can safely assume that this is a trend in Holofcener’s films.

“Please Give” is humorless, irrelevant, and ultimately boring thus making me wish that the film would be renamed to “Please Avoid.”

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