Director: Chris Kelly
Writer: Chris Kelly
Starring: Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford, Maude Apatow, Madisen Beaty, John Early, Zach Woods, Josie Totah, June Squibb
Chris Kelly’s first feature film is the semi-autobiographical Other People. It stars Jesse Plemons as David, a struggling writer who moves back home to look after his mother Joanne (Molly Shannon), who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The film takes place over the last year of Joanne’s life. It starts with her death, and her family surrounding her on her bed. Then time moves back to the previous Christmas, showing David’s arrival at home. Time is spent in each month, leading up to Joanne’s passing. Throughout the year David is trying to convince his mother that he’s doing okay with his life, that he has chances in his career and that he’s still together with his boyfriend, even though they’ve broken up.
Molly Shannon is absolutely brilliant as Joanne, giving a vulnerable and powerful performance. She’s the heart and soul of the film and pretty much carries everything. The sequence of her in the hospital, which you only see through the slightly opened door, is heart-breaking and genuinely hard to watch. Jesse Plemons, as always, gives a good performance as well, capturing the idea of feeling lost in your late twenties.
The film is a dark comedy, and there are some funny moments in the film, but most of it is twinged with the sadness of what you know is coming. Every laugh and joke feels diluted and that fits the tone of the film perfectly. You can feel that this is a personal project and you can feel the emotion come through.
As the film covers a full year in around a hundred minutes, there are moments where it feels like the pacing is rushed a little, especially towards the end. It does feel like there are pieces missing and it would have been nicer for the plot to slow down just a little to really let everything sink in.
Other People is a great film, with excellent performances and a true story that resonates. It’s funny and sad, and really worth watching.
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