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Guilt Trip: Nicole Holofceners’s “Please Give”

Guilt Trip: Nicole Holofceners's "Please Give"

Nicole Holofcener’s movies are often praised for their uncomfortable honesty, their ability to burrow to the core of their often exclusively female protagonists’ anxieties, hypocrisies, and shortcomings. And there’s no doubt that as a writer-director she penetrates some nasty deep-seated areas, finding some truths about contemporary urban experience. That she rarely lets any of her characters—whether ostensibly heroes or antagonists—off the hook indicates a cynicism that’s at least grounded and far-sighted, but it also often makes her films feel agenda-driven, narrow, and guarded. Not to mention, in the case of her latest film, Please Give, preciously overdetermined: there’s little room for surprise in a story where the mopey, guilt-stricken protagonist’s profession is to buy furniture from the loved ones of the recently deceased and sell them off at exorbitant amounts in her high-end antique shop. Read Michael Koresky’s review of Please Give.

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