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PLEASE GIVE

Production Notes
It‘s a good thing that death, guilt, materialism, adultery and acne are such ripe topics for entertainment. "It‘s nice when we can laugh," says Catherine Keener, "Because there‘s some very heavy material." In PLEASE GIVE Keener plays Kate, proprietor of a chic New York furniture store, loving wife and mother, and victim of a raging case of liberal guilt and 21st century malaise. While Kate‘s story encompasses the challenging sides of the human condition, writer-director Nicole Holofcener brings affectionate humor to her portrayal of Kate, her family, her neighbors and surroundings.

"Nicole doesn‘t really write villains," says Amanda Peet, whose character Mary comes closest to villainy as the neighbor who flirts, and then some, with Kate‘s husband. "Everyone has villainous moments and everyone has sublime moments."

Holofcener is known for subtle, funny, and complex characterizations in films such as Lovely & Amazing (2001) and Friends with Money (2006). Catherine Keener has been Holofcener‘s frequent choice of alter-ego in her films. In PLEASE GIVE, Holofcener says, "Catherine‘s character is in the midst of figuring out what gives her life meaning and what makes her feel good about herself and bad about herself. Catherine can relate to my own contradictions. Our collaboration has grown; I‘m spoiled, because it‘s so easy to direct her—it‘s so easy for her to direct me!" Apart from Keener, though, Holofcener worked with an entirely new cast on PLEASE GIVE.

"I begged Nicole for seven years to put me in a movie," says Amanda Peet. "I stalked her."

"Amanda Peet has a great sense of irony about her character and about herself," says Anthony Bregman, producer, who has also been a frequent collaborator with Holofcener.

About the part of Alex, Kate‘s husband who strays with Peet, Bregman says "Nicole actually wrote the part of Alex with Oliver Platt in mind."

"He‘s funny and attractive in an unconventional way," says Holofcener about her leading man. "It‘s one of those intuitive things. He just felt right. He has this hysterical low-ball humor but he also can be dramatic, and he‘s really likeable. That‘s important, because he does this skunky thing."

Indeed, much of PLEASE GIVE revolves around reconciling the 'skunky' things that people do with the good people that they really are—or would like to be. As Platt recounts, Nicole said, "You might know this guy better than me." He‘s been in a marriage for a long time, and ironically I think it‘s a marriage that works on a lot of levels, and he kinda just does this stupid thing. It‘s all about making it understandable—or deciding that it can‘t be understood. It just happened."

"The subject matter is at times brutal and difficult to look at," says Rebecca Hall, who plays Mary‘s younger, softer sister who has devoted herself to caring for their cranky, elderly grandmother. "Nicole gets in there with her sharply focused camera and doesn‘t really let up."

About Hall, Holofcener says, ―Rebecca has that sweet, open, vulnerable, natural beauty that I think could be overlooked by someone…stupid. Or really not looking carefully. Rebecca plays the 'plain' sister to Mary‘s hottie.

Natural beauty also drew Holofcener to Sarah Steele, who plays Abby, Kate and Alex‘s fifteen-year-old daughter (Steele is actually a 21-year-old college student). "I auditioned a lot of teenage girls, but when Sarah walked in, that was it. She literally flushed during the audition, which I loved. She's very present, a great listener, a very honest actor. She had the right combination of sweet innocence and the ability to be a horrible teenager. And she's funny, so Abby never seemed too dark or miserable, even when she<

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