Three Imaginary Girls

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Nicole Holofcener's Please Give

Contrary to the subdued tone of the rest of the film, Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give opens with a series of naked women’s breasts being arranged on uncomfortable mammogram machines.

From there, the Director and Writer moves into more familiar territory: complex characters trying to get through their issues without hurting themselves, or more likely, someone else.

Kate (Catherine Keener) runs an chic vintage furniture shop with her husband, Alex (Oliver Platt), and suffers from guilt every day about how much money she has, how much she’s charging vs. what she paid for each piece, and how everyone else obviously has a much harder life than she does.

More guilt is piled on by their next-door neighbor, 93-year-old Andra. Kate & Alex have purchased her apartment and intend to remodel, expanding their own already plush residence. Essentially, they’re waiting for Andra to die, a fact that her granddaughter Rebecca (Rebecca Hall) can’t seem to forgive them for.

Shy radiologist Rebecca lives with her sister Mary (Amanda Peet), whose defenses include super-tanning and saying whatever the hell she feels like saying, whenever she feels like saying it. Brash and unapologetic, Mary becomes an unlikely role model for Kate’s unhappy teenage daughter Abby, while Rebecca struggles through awkward encounters with coworkers and patients.

Abby’s unhappiness, by the way, centers on the all-too-familiar teenage angst of acne and feeling too fat, but also hinges on the problem of her mother refusing to buy her $200 jeans because “people are starving in the streets!”

You might ask why you should care about ANY of these people, and the answer I have is: I don’t know. I only know that somehow Holofcener always makes you care by finding a common thread or problem that makes it easy to identify with everyone in her films – which is exactly what I love about her work.

Lovely & Amazing still leads as my favorite from her, but Please Give should definitely be seen too.

{Please Give opens Friday, June 18 in Seattle at The Guild 45th and Uptown Cinemas}