Saturday, December 12, 2015

People, Places, Things (a Netflix movie review) by Writers Alive

People, Places, Things  is a 2015 comedy drama starring Jemaine Clement as an affable, slightly hapless, graphic novelist from New Zealand living in New York whose girlfriend, played by Stephanie Allyne, dumps him. Her timing, as is almost everyone's in this slow play slapstick, is embarrassingly horrible (in a good way).

The film starts out with Clement clumsily bantering about the house during their twins' fifth birthday party, only to find Allyne in flagrante delicto  with her lover in an upstairs bedroom. From then on, awkward and embarrassing moments segue seamlessly throughout the movie, undoubtedly scripted masterfully by director James C. Strouse.  Aundrea and Gia Gadsby, who play the girls, appear to be the only characters who have a sure footing and who know what they want in a world gone amok with adult mismanagements of emotional relationships and that is for their parents to get back together again.

Clement is perfect for the part of Will--a sensitive, artistic guy whose heart is bigger than his brain at times and it takes a male movie director to clearly show that sometimes no matter what a man does in today's world of 'liberated' women, it still isn't enough because we still get the blame for just being men.

Jessica Williams is Kat and she does a superb job playing one of Clement's visual art students and, in the end, brings him to an epiphany of sorts in the way only a precocious and talented nineteen year old can--with straight but sassy feedback regarding his personal portfolio that he shares with her (after sharing her mother). And that's the revelation that ultimately lends the dramatic aspect to what would otherwise be a sad comedy of errors film--self expression necessitates action but rarely is it done in a vacuum. Whether or not you agree with the moral solution at the end of the story, you'll have to admit that it was worth the watch as there's very little fluff and almost a Woody Allen type sentiment to the entire piece.