I saw this dramedy, now available on DVD and Blu-ray, at the TriBeCa Film Festival in April and it immediately became one of my favorite movies of the year. Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt play a very likeable, friendly couple who just happen to prey on the families of the recently deceased to purchase their furniture at a fraction of its value to sell in their store. Keener is so overwhelmed with a sense of guilt for what she does and all that she has that she tries to give back to society in various ways, thereby causing her daughter a lot of embarrassment. Meanwhile, Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet play sisters who each deal with their old, cranky grandmother in very different ways, and granny happens to live next door to Keener and Platt, who happen to want her apartment. Got all that?
Writer/Director Nicole Holofcener (‘Friends with Money’, ‘Lovely and Amazing’, and ‘Walking and Talking’) is one of my latest favorites, as she consistently creates interesting, complex characters like no one else. She (along with Edward Burns, another of my favorites) has really become the next Woody Allen. (Which is great, since Woody Allen’s last few films haven’t been very good.)
The film features a great ensemble cast. Catherine Keener is a regular in all four of Holofcener’s films and has one of the best Filmographies of any actor (including Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Synecdoche New York’). Oliver Platt makes every movie better just by being in it (e.g. ‘Indecent Proposal’ and ‘The Imposters’). And Amanda Peet (‘Saving Silverman’ and ‘The Whole Nine Yards’) and Rebecca Hall (‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ and ‘The Town’) are always very watchable.
At its core, this is a drama but it’s done in a light and enjoyable way. If you like films for adults (not adult films, mind you) that blend drama with comedy, and include complex characters and realistic dialogue with a lot of intersecting storylines, then definitely give this one a shot. I love it.