Darkly funny, enormously moving and wonderfully observed, writer-director Chris Kelly’s “Other People” makes a fine companion piece to the recent “The Hollars,” another strong, idiosyncratic, real-life-inspired film about an adult son’s return home to be with his ill mother. Watching “Other People,” though, may require a few more Kleenex.
The movie, which opened the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and closed this summer’s Outfest Los Angeles, stars a superb Jesse Plemons as David, a struggling comedy writer whose wry, empathetic mom (Molly Shannon, also great) is dying of cancer.
Spending most of a year in Sacramento — away from New York and a kindly ex-boyfriend (Zach Woods) — David navigates loneliness, career anxiety, hometown displacement and, of course, the bonds of family. The latter includes dealing with his mother’s slow and poignant fade as well as with his otherwise decent dad’s (Bradley Whitford) inability to accept David’s sexual orientation.
En route, there are enjoyably quirky episodes involving a visit to a dreary local gay bar, a drag number by an endearingly flamboyant tween boy (J.J. Totah), a family trip to New York for David’s gig with an improv troupe, and warm bits with David’s jovial grandparents (Paul Dooley, June Squibb).
See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »
Emotions run deep and wide here; anyone who’s ever lost a parent, longed for love and acceptance, or tried to find his or her true self should easily relate. It’s a terrific film.
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.
Playing: Sundance Sunset Cinemas, West Hollywood
Relax Tears and wry laughs fuel Chris Kelly's insightful 'Other People' stories
Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan, who worked together on “Saturday Night Live,” square off in “Brother Nature,” an odd couple blended-family comedy scripted by Killam, Mikey Day and Cameron Fay. Directed by longtime “SNL” digital short filmmakers the late Matt Villines and Oz Rodriguez, it derives
Given that 90-year-old show biz legend Jerry Lewis hasn’t been seen in a starring role since 1995’s “Funny Bones,” his lead turn in the drama “Max Rose” should be something of a big-screen event. Unfortunately, the movie, written and directed by Daniel Noah, is such a maudlin, ham-fisted dud, it
For 15-year-old Brandon (Jahking Guillory), the frizzy-haired, undersized kid protagonist of Justin Tipping’s agile feature debut “Kicks,” navigating adolescence and a rough, depressed Oakland neighborhood is like working a double shift that doesn’t pay. He’s got a status-bump goal, though, and the
There’s a fine line between mocking obnoxious bro behavior and celebrating it, and writer-director Casey Tebo’s “Happy Birthday” too often falls on the wrong side of the divide. Though well-acted and stylish, this meta-grindhouse exercise strains under its own self-satisfied cleverness.
A voyage south of the border is a truly strange trip in Steve Balderson’s “El Ganzo.” His stars, Anslem Richardson and Susan Traylor, take co-writing credits in this tale of two wandering souls who cross paths at the hotel El Ganzo in Cabo San Lucas. Lizzy (Traylor), endures a fender bender en route
The belief that absinthe induces hallucinations is the stuff of ignorance and myth, as “The Green Fairy,” a “fantasy documentary” about the long-banned quaff, goes to tortured lengths to chronicle. But consider it a matter of scientific certainty that the film will induce groans from its audience.
“Just a normal wedding,” the mother of the bride sniffs more than halfway through Marcin Wrona’s “Demon.” She’s exaggerating a little. By that point in this Polish-set matrimonial horror film, the weather has taken a foul turn, a few guests have come to physical blows and the groom has been confined
Just as Leonard Nimoy had an uneasy relationship with his famous alter ego, his standing with his son wasn’t always on terra firma, as explored in Adam Nimoy’s honest but warmly affectionate screen memoir, “For the Love of Spock.”
This "Sully" never soars.
IT’S always fascinating getting a glimpse behind the scenes of the Hollywood casting process — finding out which iconic roles could’ve been vastly different, had a different actor landed the part.