Friday, July 2, 2010

Shocking Twist: Movie Actually Passes the Bechdel Test

Last night I saw Please Give, an indie comedy about Kate and Alex (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) , an affluent couple living on Manhattan's Upper West Side who are waiting for their elderly next door neighbor to die so they can buy her apartment and expand their home. As they try to assuage their guilt by befriending the old lady's grown granddaughters (Amanda Peet and Rebecca Hall), all of their lives become awkwardly entangled.

Please Give is an honest and often funny movie about aging, death, generosity, and guilt. It is a credit to both the actors and writer/director Nicole Holofcenor that characters could have easily fallen into stereotypes, especially cranky old lady Andra (Ann Guilbert) and Kate and Alex's frustrated teenager daughter Abby (Sarah Steele), but instead feel very genuine. All of the players are flawed (Andra is cruel, Kate is neurotic and suffering from a raging case of liberal guilt, Alex is immature), but the audience is drawn in and learns to care about these complicated and sometimes frustrating people.

While this is not a particularly feminist movie, it is worth noting for a few reason. First, it was written and directed by a woman (if you don't get how unique that is, check out these statistics from Women and Hollywood). And, amazingly, it passes the Bechdel Rule, a test we've mentioned previously. In accordance with the rule, Please Give features more than two women talking to each other about something other than a man. It's sad how stupefied I was when I realized that this movie actually passed that test. If you want to check out a darkly funny movie about complicated women, created by a talented female writer/director and starring some very talented actors, check out Please Give.

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