6.5/10
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7 user 4 critic

A Very Serious Person (2006)

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A coming-of-age tale about a showtunes- and old Hollywood-obsessed boy and his effete Danish mentor. The two bond and teach each other lessons about self-acceptance over the course of one magical summer on the Jersey Shore.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
P.J. Verhoest ...
Gil
...
Betty
...
Mrs. A
...
Terry
...
Jan
...
Mrs. Kupchunas
Marvin Einhorn ...
Mr. Horowitz
Jonathan Ospa ...
Travis
Ben Roberts ...
Waiter
...
Little Girl (as Heather Schact)
...
Glenda
Carl Andress ...
Lee
Simon Fortin ...
Gilles
Judith Hawking ...
Maude
...
Paramedic
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Storyline

Jan, an itinerant male nurse from Denmark, takes a new job with Mrs. A, a terminally ill Manhattan woman raising her parentless thirteen-year-old grandson, Gil. Spending the summer by the shore, the emotionally reserved Jan finds himself oddly cast as a mentor to Gil in having to prepare the sensitive boy for life with his cousins in Florida after his grandmother's death. A deep friendship grows between these two solitary people. By the end of the summer, Gil has developed a new maturity and independence, while the enigmatic Jan has revealed his own vulnerability. Written by Charles Busch

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28 April 2006 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Love and Where to Find It
5 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A VERY SERIOUS PERSON is a tight little film with a fine story, solid cast and enough thoughts about connecting isolated individuals to make the movie both entertaining and touching. Spanning the ages from young teenagers to middle age to elderly, each focusing on basically needy souls trying to find solid ground, writer (with Carl Andress)/director/actor Charles Busch has developed an ensemble effect in casting just the right actors to relate his ideas.

As a summer for consolation for the elderly ill Mrs. Aronson (Polly Bergen, reminding us what a fine performer she is!) has requested that her 13-year-old grandson Gil (P.J. Verhoest), whose parents are deceased, come live with her on the Jersey shore. Mrs. A is known for being a difficult patient, going through live-in nurses like wildfire, and living with her trusty housekeeper Betty (veteran actress Dana Ivey), but she is in for a surprise when young Gil moves in - a slightly feminine lad with a penchant for old Hollywood movies, writing grand stories about great heroines, dressing like Marie Antoinette, and refusing to learn swimming or any outdoor activities in favor of watching 'Gone with the Wind' whenever possible.

Into this household enters the latest 'nurse', a gay Danish ex-dancer Jan (Charles Busch) who by admission is 'a very serious person' - obsessive compulsive in his care for Mrs. A, coping with the flustered Betty, and rarely smiling at the antics of the overpowering Gil. Each of these three rather glitzy people is lonely, and each in his/her own way wants acceptance and love. The story is how the three learn from each other, give and take, and find the niche that proves the summer was not wasted.

Busch draws marvelous performances from Bergen, Verhoest, and Ivey as well as creating lovable side characters: the outrageous gay hairdresser (Carl Andress) and his associate (Alexa Eisenstein), Jan's love interest (Simon Fortin) among others. The growing relationship between Jan and Gil provides a platform for some serious issues about accepting sexuality and the interaction of all the characters on the failing Mrs. A is warmly managed. This is a comedy with an edge and above all it is a solidly entertaining movie. Grady Harp


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