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Saw this tonight at the Seattle International Film Festival. I was not expecting such a good movie. The writing and performances had the full house laughing throughout. This is definitely a "dramedy" though. A lot of touching moments between Jenna Fischer's character and Daniel Yelsky, as well as Jenna and Rob Benedict. I expect this film to do quite well once it picks up a distributor. If I had to compare it to other films, James L. Brooks better films came to mind, as well as PT Anderson -- mostly because of the superb casting and writing. I wouldn't change a thing about this movie. I almost forgot to mention the new songs by Jakob Dylan that fit the movie so well. I'm still going to see another 15 or so movies at SIFF, but I fear I have already seen the best film that will screen at the festival.
I normally don't like to call out other reviewers on their views, but I
feel like the review that's posted on the page doesn't do this film
justice at all. Sure, Jenna Fischer plays a very annoying character,
and sure, her son is annoying as all get out, but to claim that either
doesn't grow is a little rough.
I think the movie does a great job at exemplifying the tribulations of real life, and it's exactly the point of the film not to have a huge ending where everyone involved has an epiphany and changes all of his or her ways. Everyone has a ton of problems, but the fact that they aren't shown climbing triumphantly out from them is exactly how real life is, how many of you can just walk away from a rough marriage, or problems with a child, or the suspicion of an affair? These aren't things one can simply "Get over" within the span of days, or maybe even ever, and this movie shows that in a way that is quietly elegant. The viewer is left with the statement that things are going to be better, and the viewer has to trust that they will be, as opposed to being shown that they are.
It's a quirky sad film, one that doesn't really make the viewer feel all that great, but it certainly leaves enough room for a quiet warmth; a slow hope that stays with the viewer after the movie ends. It's a great film, an annoying and frustrating and awkward film, but a great film nevertheless. The viewer sees human beings interacting with each other, and very human reactions. It's nothing that's going remain with you for days, but it will make you smile.
This indie dramedy casts cutie-pie Jenna Fischer (of TV's "The Office") as Laura, a woman suffering from a variety of problemsdead-end marriage, unappreciative son, bitchy sister, condescending momthat no amount of beer and cigarettes can make go away. Then things take a turn for the worse. The movie is about how lies infect the soulhow they grow, like a cancer, and end up spoiling life. There are impressive turns by Ron Liebman and Lesley Ann Warren as Laura's parents, and Kim Coates as a calculating attorneythe embodiment of Satanic dishonesty, he might as well have been carrying a trident. "A Little Help" may not wind up in a lot of the year's Top 10 lists, but I found myself caring about the characters, warts and all. (For once, Fischer is photographed in a way that is not particularly attractive). A winning effort by first-time feature writer/director Michael J. Weithorn.
My wife and I very much enjoyed this unpretentious film at the San Jose Cinequest Film Festival. It certainly blends comedy and drama very well, and the story line flows very smoothly. Well-delivered humor kept the audience laughing evenly throughout the story, which complimented the more somber and poignant moments. The actors, many of whom are recognizable from television and the big screen all added to the believability of the story. While I sat there and thought "I am glad this is not my family's story," I, nevertheless, could relate and was drawn to the characters and their trials. There was a certain sweetness about this story that made Laura's (Jenna Fischer) life ultimately redeeming, and ultimately a pleasant surprise to this reviewer.
The only thing good about this movie is Jenna Fischer, and she's very,
very good. Otherwise, the acting is mediocre at best and the story,
dialog and direction are pretty bad. Only Fischer's perfect performance
in a ridiculous movie makes it worth watching.
It IS a comedy, by the way, despite what some online reviewers have said. It just doesn't work as a comedy, or as a drama, or as anything else... except as a vehicle for Fischer's unique gift for playing likable, thoroughly and consistently entertaining losers, who also are totally believable human beings - not by any means an easy feat. She's almost a female Woody Allen, except she's not an obnoxious, whining, passive-aggressive, self-aggrandizing pervert.
This was a great film! I saw this at the San Diego Film Festival a couple of weeks ago and it was a happy little surprise. Jenna Fischer did an amazing job, as a matter of fact, EVERY actor in this film was tremendous. The film was very believable, it focused on a young mother who's marriage is falling apart. She is slowly drifting into a hopeless state; being unloved and slightly alcoholic in return. Then her life changes when events unfold. We watch her handle all these problems at once and still we see her emerge as a better person in the end. The film is not as much of a downer as it sounds, and there is plenty humor in it. The best thing about this film is the reality of it, it's very easy to relate to. The relationships are believable as well as the situations and dialog. I enjoyed this film and I highly recommend it. This film and Nowhere Boy were my two favorite films from the festival.
No real morality issue here, this is a story of people like Jenna
Fisher ("The Office") who loses her husband (brief performance by Chris
O'Donnell as handsome but cheating spouse), and has to re-think her
Look for Brooke Smith as Jenna's resentful sister, she is jealous her sister was the prettier one and leads a "charmed life being lucky" according to her. Again, never judge a person by their externals, the same goes for the lies her son uses to pretend his dad died as a hero during 9/11, and there are some good scenes of their L.I. neighborhood.
Overall good film with some stereotypes, nothing deep but good sardonic real-life humor, which I prefer to the usual drivel offered as comedy by Hollywood mainstream. 8/10.
I watched this movie after first coming across it on IMDb and reading stellar reviews describing it as a "dramedy". Unfortunately, I found the beginning slow and drawn out to the point of boredom. I had a difficult time caring about any of the characters or what would happen to them. I actually fell asleep and had to rewind in my quest to find the point where it would improve. I did not find this movie interesting or funny and some scenes were actually distasteful. I thought the characters annoying and unlikeable. Some reviewers commented that this movie was great because it was true to life; not every situation ends up tied up in pretty bows and perfect endings, etc. Sure, that's true. BUT, that does not mean I should be satisfied watching characters without redeeming qualities who do not develop in a movie with a flat ending. If I'm going to invest 108 minutes in a movie my lowest expectation is to care about what happens to the characters. It's interesting to read such different reviews about the same movie. In this case, since some people loved it I would suggest watching it yourself if the storyline interests you and then post a review here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"What's a cooler way to die, 9/11 or a arrhythmia thing?" Laura (Fischer) and Bob (O'Donnell) have a strained marriage. Bob works all the time and Laura drinks a lot. Their 12 year old son is stuck in the middle but prefers the dad. After an argument leads to Bob's death, Laura is left to figure out how to raise her son and support her family. This is a movie that is very different from the preview. The preview makes it look like a comedy, while there are some funny parts this is more of a drama. That said this is one fantastic movie. Watching each character deal with the situation is great to watch. There are parts that you laugh at that you feel like you shouldn't. This is also one of the best mother-son bonding movies I have ever seen, and there are scenes with her family that will make you mad. The fact that you have these feeling marks the sign of a good movie. This is one of the biggest surprise movies of the year. You expect one thing, it's another, but an absolutely fantastic movie to watch. Overall, an extremely entertaining and enjoyable movie to watch that won't disappoint. I give it an A.
I don't know the tastes of the average moviegoer who gives this a 5.5
but I got much pleasure from watching this very real movie about real
people getting through life--fumbling through life. The director's
touch is soft and delicate; the characters are real, three-dimensional,
imperfect,vulnerable and lovable.
Yes, I can see how someone could be bored by the movie if they have ADHD and are looking for thrills/tension/resolution. Nothing much happens in the movie and there is no grand resolution at the end, so it won't do well in the box office. But smart and sensitive connoisseurs of psychological movies will appreciate the gentleness of the story.
It really is a movie about family relationships and the subtle tensions and adjustments that happen.If you have soft eyes to gaze at the humanness of ordinary people going through their private pain, compassion for the heart and spirit they show in keeping their head above water and appreciative of a director who is not trying to hit you on the head with a heavy moral message--watch this movie.
I am left feeling wistful and mellow having watched some very real, complex and believable characters. Loved it.
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