Laugh and cry with ‘Other People’
Today’s Film Daily pick, Other People, is a comedy about dying from cancer. Well, that’s partly what it’s about. Mostly, it’s about David (Jesse Plemons of Friday Night Lights), a gay man who drops his career as a writer for Saturday Night Live to move home and take care of his terminally-ill mother (SNL alum Molly Shannon). This already-stressful situation is compounded by the presence of David’s homophobic and conservative father (The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford).
“You’ll laugh; you’ll cry” is such a trite and outdated movie cliche, but that really is what happened when the film opened the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. People in the audience were audibly sniffling and laughing as they watched David navigate his quickly disintegrating life. At one point in the movie, he tells a friend that he always thought these kinds of things only happened to “other people” (and thus the name of the film). His friend responds that David is now the “other people to other people.”
Besides the superb writing and the stellar cast, the factor that makes this dark comedy so honest and three-dimensional is that it’s loosely based on director Chris Kelly’s real life.
In an interview with Indiewire, Kelly said that Molly Shannon looks quite a bit like his mom in the film, although this was accidental. He said, “She’s very similar to my mom and so funny and a smartass and very strong. It was hard to direct her, because I do feel like I’m with my mom a bit now.”