The witty and perceptive writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking
, Lovely & Amazing
, Friends With Money
) delivers her best feature yet, a sharp-elbowed philosophical comedy that ponders why people find it so hard to be generous with one another. Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt are a married couple in Midtown Manhattan who've bought the apartment next door to their own but won't get it until the death of the sour old lady living there (Ann Guilbert, who decades ago played Millie the neighbor on The Dick Van Dyke Show
). Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet are the old woman's granddaughters, who've spent years trying to deal with her niggardly outlook on life. The comedy is wonderfully barbed, but there are also some genuinely loving moments that reveal Holofcener's own generosity as a writer; this is one of those rare movies that made me want to thank the person who did it.
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Nicole Holofcener ponders the pitfalls of generosity in Please Give