The Planters | Chicago Reader
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The Planters

Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder wrote, directed, starred in, and even did most of the crew work for this intriguing dark comedy, which is better than it has any business being. Many viewers will likely compare this to the films of Wes Anderson—his name being synonymous with movies where actors affect stilted mannerisms and the aesthetic is almost a character in itself—but Kotcheff and Leder indulge a brand of oddness that’s too specific to have been appropriated. Kotcheff plays Martha Plant, an oddball telemarketer who’s mourning the loss of her elderly, adoptive parents. In addition to selling AC units over the phone, she also “plants,” a self-assumed side-gig that involves burying meaningless treasures in decorative tins for strangers to dig up. Martha meets Sadie Mayflower (Leder), a cloyingly sweet young woman in a wedding dress and chained-up helmet who's been unceremoniously released from a psychiatric hospital; she has multiple personalities that include a four-year-old and a disaffected 20-something. Martha takes Sadie home and hires her as an assistant, while Sadie helps Martha accomplish her goal of selling 30 AC units in ten days, during which time she meets the awkwardly charming Richard Cox (Phil Parolisi). The film’s central tension stems from the mystery of someone taking Martha’s plants without leaving anything in return and the unlikely trio seeking to uncover the stingy bandit. Seemingly unrelated to anything else happening in the film, Sadie sees biblical claymation figures in Martha’s tins, which accounts for the most creative digressions.

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