Other People Review
Click here to buy posters
In Association with Amazon.com
Even comedy writers can’t be funny all the time. In fact, as we’ve often seen, some of the funniest people are also some of the saddest and most tortured. And the indie drama Other People follows a funny guy through a year that’s anything but funny.

Other People stars Jesse Plemons as David, a comedy writer who leaves his life in New York City and returns home to Sacramento to help care for his mother, Joanne (Molly Shannon), after she’s diagnosed with cancer. David has suffered his own setbacks—first the loss of what seemed to be a great job in TV, then the end of his relationship with his long-time boyfriend. And as his mom’s health deteriorates, he suffers from more career setbacks, strained family relationships, and, most of all, loneliness.

This debut feature from Saturday Night Live writer Chris Kelly tells a thoughtful yet awkward story about illness, identity, and, especially, family. Really, not a lot happens here. It’s deliberately paced, following David from family gatherings to appointments with doctors to evenings with friends as he struggles to find his own way while trying to care for his mother. And while the drama often feels natural and genuine, most of the attempts at comedy feel overdone and out of place.

Still, Molly Shannon is truly moving in her role as Joanne—and anyone who remembers her for more spastic roles (like Saturday Night Live’s Mary Katherine Gallagher) will be pleasantly surprised by her low-key yet appropriately quirky performance. Her character’s decline from the bright, vibrant woman we see in the first scene is heartbreaking, and viewers will feel her exhaustion and frustration as she tries to remain upbeat while her body slowly shuts down.

Unfortunately, though, David isn’t an especially likable character. Though he’s made sacrifices to come home and care for his mother—and he’s the one who’s with her through some of the worst of it—he still comes off as incredibly self-absorbed. He rarely talks to anyone else—including members of his family who aren’t his mom—apparently preferring to mope in solitude. And when he does talk to someone else, he spends his time complaining about being stuck in a dull and lifeless city that’s so far beneath him. Of course, that allows the character a moment of growth in the end, but it also makes for some maddening moments along the way.

In the end, Other People does offer a wonderful performance and a moving message. But its slow pace and moody main character often make it a difficult journey.

Listen to the review on Reel Discovery:

Submissions Contributors Advertise About Us Contact Us Disclaimer Privacy Links Awards Request Review Contributor Login
© Copyright 2002 - 2018 NightsAndWeekends.com. All rights reserved.