“Other People”

LOUISA:    3.5 STARS      MATT:  2.5 STARS


“Other People” is obviously a deeply personal film, which makes it a little difficult to review. Writer-director Chris Kelly’s screenplay is what shines here, as he has a tremendous grasp of reality in his dialogue. The grocery store scene is so painfully grounded in truth that it becomes even more profound if you have dealt with a parent battling cancer.

The strength of this movie lies not only in the skillful prose but in the raw and honest performances from Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons, both immersing themselves in their roles as mother and son. Sadly, I found the direction very pedestrian and at times distracting and clunky (many scenes, like the oddball adopted child’s dance routine for his father’s birthday party, just didn’t work within the framework of the story). Despite its flaws, I found the movie to be deeply moving and touching with just the right amount of humor thrown in to give you permission to laugh through the tears.

The best way to write is to write what you know and what you’ve been through, and I feel Kelly has succeeded here. “Other People” reminds you of the importance of family because in the end, that’s all that matters.


“Other People” is a well-written, but not particularly well-directed, comedy/drama about death, family, and relationships. There are some strong performances here — particularly from Jesse Plemons (Todd from “Breaking Bad”), who plays the lead (David) — but the movie as a whole doesn’t gel as it should.

In “Other People,” writer/director Chris Kelly tells an extremely personal, semi-autobiographical story about his mother’s diagnosis and death from cancer. What works about the movie are his deeply personal, funny and touching observations of his experiences leading up to his mother’s death. What doesn’t work, however, is the film’s too-dark tone, which would have been better-served with a script that had a more complete balance between the comic and the tragic. Nevertheless, there are some valuable and touching insights into the importance of family and those relationships that were particularly effective.

“Other People” isn’t for everyone; that said, those who are going through experienced similar to David’s may find some comfort here.

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