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He's as charming as a nerd could be. Great film for people.
jdesando13 August 2015
Having seen Mark Ruffalo take pieces of the scenery as a bipolar dad in Infinitely Polar Bear, I was happy to settle down with a slower, more-measured, drier dad with Jermaine Clement as Will Henry in the charming People Places Things. Both dads face fatherhood with good intentions and occasionally laughs, but it's Will's good will and unassuming persona that won my heart.

A recently-single graphic novelist, Will is not an aggressive dad, and yet, with the two sweetest cello playing twins (Aundrea and Gia Gadsby—watch for these two to become bigger than the Olsens) this side of Disneyland, it's not difficult just to let them play at your heartstrings, as he does. His illustrating helps us get inside the head of this brainy introvert, who otherwise would be just a nice guy.

His ex, Charlie (Stephanie Allynne), is sweet and warm but has had enough of his passivity and is ready to wed bulbous Gary (Michael Chernus), who takes passive to a new level. Both men are starving artists while she is from a wealthy family, elements that give richness to what could have been a clichéd character.

In the Seinfeld tradition, nothing much happens, a sure sign that everything is happening. In this Sundance Grand-Jury-Prize-nominated film, Charlie is conflicted about Will just as Will connects with his student Kat's (Jessica Williams) mom, Diane (Regina Hall), another warm character who makes you think about switching to writing comic books to get girls.

To be fair to Will, he's as charming as a nerd could be, well meaning, a great dad, and shyly clueless about the battle of the sexes.
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An unwaveringly funny crowdpleaser
tinybirds17 June 2015
Charmingly every-day and cynically sweet, James Strouse's People, Places, Things (2015) is a playful illustration of the struggles of heartsick, 40-something nice-guys. We all know them: divorced and a bit adrift with a couple of kids, trying to understand the gap between where their life is and where they imagined it would be. This film is absolutely for the faint of heart; lightweight and quippy, it keeps a pretty steady comedic roll and is definitely not lacking in its share of flimsy sitcom-style tropes. Cutesy jokes about grown men being unable to dress well and efficiently care for themselves and their kids abound. Idiot students invariably disrupt class and make jokes about masturbation. Crazy wives are crazy. The impeccable comedic execution of main character Will, played by Jemaine Clement, as well as supporting cast members Stephanie Allynne, Regina Hall, and Jessica Williams, definitely elevate this film from just a pleasant and heartwarming flick to a cleverly executed, if light, comedic experience. What this film lacks in profundity, it makes up for in relatability and spirit raising adorableness that has the potential to appeal to a wide audience.

Will is a graphic novelist and professor in New York, who separates from his partner Charlie (Allynne) within the first five minutes of the film after he stumbles upon her alone with another man, and in his t-shirt, upstairs at their twin daughters' birthday party. He then finds himself relegated to a lonely apartment in Astoria, suddenly thrown off course and missing Charlie and his daughters. Seeing his thinly veiled gloom in class, college student Kat (Williams) invites him to her home for dinner with the intention of fixing him up with her mother Diane, a quick witted Columbia University professor played by Hall. A guarded romance ensues while Will struggles over the increasing complexity of his dynamic with Charlie, as well as his new life, fatherhood, and just general inability to pull himself together. Close camera-work connects us intimately to each defeated response and hilariously mumbling reproach Will dishes out to those around him. Comedy strongman Clement flawlessly carries the timing and tone of this amusingly reflective film. The musical score by Mark Orton is gently bright and upbeat, appropriately unobtrusive for its lightweight context. Will's own comics charmingly serve as a secondary source for connectivity with the backstory and not-so-underlying narrative of detached loneliness for a character that had seemingly always desired to be a touch farther removed from those around him that he managed to be - until now.

Will's comics are a good symbol for the film itself - quirky, cute, superficially grazing the human condition and leaving little work to the viewer in decoding Will's underlying emotions. We don't have to think too much - just as when reading a comic the thoughts and sentiment are right there in plain sight. There's not much to be done beyond minding the "gap" between your comic's panels, as Will covers in class, riding close to the line of obviating the weightiest symbolism this film has to offer, while its main man searches for what was missed in the in-between spaces he may not have been giving the necessary attention. Still, the film manages to toe that line effectively, maintaining its romantic comedy air while staying equally rooted in realistic emotions and resolutions.

While Clement played a significant role in helping to elevate this film, for me, his presence also detracted oddly. As pleasant and consistent as this film was, I found myself continually expecting the disarming peculiarity and heart of the directorial influence of Clement's usual partner in film Taika Waititi (What We Do in The Shadows, and Eagle vs. Shark). It's quirky and very personal air seemed to nod to the same stylistic motivations, but failed to deliver that level of uniqueness and sentiment that really makes films like Waititi's sink into your pores and stay there. Yet, much of the charm of People, Places, Things may be found in its ordinariness. A pleasantly accessible film with ample charisma and comedic talent, People, Places, Things is nothing more (or less!) than an effortlessly funny, easy to watch and easy to like crowdpleaser.
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A film about real life people
Gordon-1122 August 2015
This film tells the story of a newly divorced graphic novelist, and his life that juggles between work, his two daughters and sorting out his emotions for his ex-wife.

"People Places Things" is a natural story about real life people and real life events. Though people say they go to the cinemas to see what isn't ordinary, it's refreshing to see something real. The lead character, Will, is clearly surprised to see his wife in bed with another man. Interestingly, he doesn't show much emotions on the spot. Instead, he spends the next year working through his emotions, and be an even better father to his two young daughters. I enjoyed watching this film.
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A romantic comedy for adults
siderite26 February 2016
Jemaine carried the film, that's the truth. Otherwise it would have been yet another New York dialogue based neurotic script. The story is heart warming and acted with a candor that is both funny and tragic. Real characters, real people, that is what the plot was trying to portray and it pretty much manages to do so. There are some bits that are a bit forced and kind of show that the writer is also the director, but overall a good movie.

The thing is that without Jemaine Clement as the lead, I am not sure I would have rated this more than average, while the jokes are funny, but pretty spaced out. Not a lot of romance in it either - well, it is, but real stuff, not butterfly in the stomach and people meant for each other. It's just ... life.
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Funny enough, good for Jemaine Clement fans
edge5475 December 2016
This movie attracted me due simply to the fact that it stars Jemaine Clement. I think the guy is hilarious, even when he's not supposed to be, due mostly to his awkward demeanor, funny accent, and spot-on delivery. I'm a big fan of Flight of the Conchords and I love his movie Eagle vs Shark, so I knew I had to watch this one.

It's a bit of a romantic comedy, which I've never been a huge fan of, but I've seen a few that were really well done. This one is not particularly well done and feels sloppy and cheesy throughout. It won't make you cry or contemplate life or leave you thinking about it for long after the credits roll, but it's still entertaining enough to keep you watching, and Jemaine, as always, is hilarious and fun to watch.
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A film that dedicated to the tender-hearted fathers.
Reno-Rangan24 October 2016
My first reaction was it is another version of 'Infinitely Polr Bear'. There are some similarities, but that does not mean they are same. Interestingly, I liked them both, loved from my heart. I thought they were sweet little gems that families must see. Yes, in these two titles, a father struggles between his personal character and raising his two daughters. I don't know this, but the other one starred by Mark Ruffalo was inspired by its director's real life. So when I heard about this, I started to expect a big.

From the director of 'Grace is Gone' which is another fine family film. This film tells the story of a middle aged graphic novel teacher with a character issue. Nothing like a temper person or a psychologically affected, but more like a childlike behaviour who lacks the seriousness around. When he loses his love of life, he now focused to take good care of his twin daughters. Meanwhile, he tries to move on, but the trouble follows when he thinks his feelings for his ex is not over. Overcoming all the obstacles and finding a right path for the future is the remaining film to tell us.

Firstly, I'm glad it was being different, despite dealt with the same theme as the film I mentioned before. The Kiwi actor, Jemaine Clement played a most important character and he alone took this film to the heights with his phenomenal act. The supporting cast was good as well, his wife and twin daughter characters did the perfect jobs. I don't think anybody would dislike this cute film. Totally a heartwarming drama, only the sentiments is missing, but it was not required and so it managed without that so well. According to me, this is a must see, but the target audience is mostly the grown ups, particularly families with kids.

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Perhaps stilted at times, it's still endearingly funny with a good heart.
Sergeant_Tibbs1 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
People Places Things isn't really about people, places or things. That's a grand statement. It's much more specific. It's about the romantic relationships of a 40 year old single father of two little girls, Will Henry played by Jemaine Clement. Writer and director James C. Strouse's autobiographical touch brings a freshness to that type of used protagonist. Will is lost, uneasy, and despite passive aggression with his predicament, he's a grounded and sensitive character. Add that to Will's graphic novel drawing vocation and People Places Things is like Mike Mills' Beginners but less tragic and more self-pitying to many endearing degrees.

On his daughter's 5th birthday, Will catches his wife Charlie (Stephanie Allynne) cheating on him with the most insultingly least likely suspect; a pale, overweight and sheepish man, Gary (Michael Chernus). Jump to the next birthday a year later and they're long since split up. Will gets his two daughters on weekends, wrestling for as much time with them as possible whilst juggling his graphic novel teaching job. Life never felt more unfair to Will as Charlie's announcement that she's pregnant with Gary's baby and they're about to get married.

At class, his student Kat (Jessica Williams) tries to set Will up with her mom Diane (Regina Hall), despite the fact that she's dating other people. Their awkward dinner is an ideal example of his ineptitude with relationships in light of his split. Meanwhile, he gets his wish as Charlie dumps his daughters on his schedule while she goes through various strains in her life. However, in a bind as he lives an hour away from their school, he elicits the help of Kat as an emergency babysitter and thus a relationship blossoms between him and Diane. Life gets complicated as Charlie's stressful life brings her closer to Will and he must make a choice between the two women.

Fans of Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords and his recent brilliant vamp-moc What We Do In The Shadows will certainly be drawn to this and will be surprised to find him more dramatic than before. Like his comedy he handles it with a dry simplicity. Strouse's direction isn't as strong as his script and you often find the cast hesitating at lines as if they want to alter the words to feel more natural. Fortunately those moments are outweighed by the odd comedic jab, some you can clearly see Clement relish in, enjoying the details of his character and situation. He brings the bulk of the film's appealing whimsy and solemnity.

The supporting cast is a mixed bag. On the one hand you have the superb Regina Hall who nails her exasperated role. I remember her mostly from Scary Movie so it's odd to see her in a role like this. On the other hand you have Stephanie Allynne whose conviction never once lands as sincere. It kind of works since her character is a struggling actress but that didn't need to spill into other areas of her performance. She's supposed to be the one these men are fighting over and she hardly gives us a reason. The film unwisely leaves most of her scenes offscreen as that's where the biggest drama of its story lies, but Allynne's weakness as an actress makes it a blessing in disguise that she doesn't have more scenes.

The photography suffers from its low budget and doesn't feel well planned out as if it's hastily on autopilot most of the time. It's made up by its lovely score with a quirky lushness that elevates the richness of every scene. It's a very lighthearted film, but at its most thoughtful it ponders success and failure in relationships. It acknowledges how all relationships have an end, but does that make them a mistake? How do you measure success? It's an easy film to connect to if you come from a family disjointed by divorce, but not to the point of complete fracture. People Places Things suffers from being obvious and stilted in a lot of places but it has a genuine heart at its core and a great sense of humor that makes it worth watching.


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A very charming movie
azzacoventry4 October 2015
This morning a quite charming on my factors although I had some great laughs in it but I found that I didn't laugh a lot and I found I was backing and loved the character development of Will Henry. You can really feel his frustrations but you also feel sorry for him as his character goes through the pain. There are some "Noooo don't do that moments" especially when it comes to his ex-Girlfriend and in fact I found that I hated her character in all the best ways. Great cast! I also loved the use of the drawings as a passive way of telling the story. The art work was great and I loved! the scene where he looses his cool and in a very innocent way draws on his ex-Girlfriends current boyfriend's advertisement on the wall. All in All a very charming movie and I felt like it had abit of a Woody Allen feel to it.
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Clement is a very likable, and quirky actor.
Hellmant13 October 2015
'PEOPLE PLACES THINGS': Three Stars (Out of Five)

Another comedy-drama flick; about an unconventional dad, learning to be a good parent. This one stars Jemaine Clement, and it was written and directed by James C. Strouse. The film costars Regina Hall, Jessica Williams, Stephanie Allynne, Michael Chernus, Aundrea Gadsby and Gia Gadsby. I found the movie to be funny, and very sweet, but nothing too memorable.

Clement plays a teacher, and aspiring graphic novelist, named Will Henry; who recently separated from his wife, Charlie (Allynne), on their daughters' (Aundrea and Gia Gadsby) fifth birthday. After explaining his recent divorce to his class; a student named Kat (Williams), sets him up on a blind date with her mother (Hall). The two don't immediately hit it off, but they slowly learn to like each other. Will tries to cope with this new relationship, while also getting over his failed one, and trying to be a better dad. He also learns to be a better teacher, and artist, in the process (of course).

It seems like we've seen this movie dozens of times before, but Clement is a very likable, and quirky, actor; so he's able to breathe new life into the material (to a certain extent). The rest of the cast is decent (Chernus is especially a scene-stealer) and the directing is adequate. The writing definitely could have been a little better though; most of the really good scenes seem mostly improvised (but I could be wrong). The film is pleasant, and humorous enough; for at least one viewing, I'd say.

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Much more enjoyable than expected
rachelal-028516 April 2019
This movie was quiet, a little drawn out. But ultimately really quite entertaining. And that's the purpose of movies. Big thumbs up.
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A reflection of life...
thepaezette28 December 2017
While I like intense romantic movies, the thrills, passion, heart soar moments, this movie is more a reflection of going through the motions of a break-up. I throughly enjoyed the all it's parts...and Jermaine just makes the character of Will seem real.
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Disconnected and Passionless
themissingpatient8 September 2015
Jemaine Clement plays a soft-spoken, passive, naive graphic novelist, university teacher and newly single father of two young girls. People, Places, Things is about the struggles of learning to let go and move forward after having your heart broken. That's pretty much it. Jemaine Clement plays his role somewhat passionless. It's hard to tell if it was a lack of dedication on his part or how writer/director James C. Strouse chose to make the character. The heart of the film is the character as a fun father but it doesn't seem like he is comfortable showing his daughters much affection. There is a very clear disconnection between him and the other characters in the film, which kind of leaves us feeling indifferent to him and his situation.

Though the film follows Clement's character, all the female characters act circles around him and steal the show. Regina Hall, Jessica Williams, Stephanie Allynne, Aundrea Gadsby and Gia Gadsby all have much more interesting characters and are outstanding in their roles. It's a shame we didn't get to spend more time with them.

This is suppose to be a heart-felt dramatic comedy but it's not funny and the heart is on auto-pilot, just slowly going through the motions, not fully present. The most insight we get from the main character is through his art, which was clever and needed, as through-out most of the film he seems bored and stale.
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An enjoyable and witty movie, Jemaine Clement makes it all happen.
TxMike28 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't know who Jemaine Clement was until I saw this movie, which I found on Netflix streaming. He is a New Zealander with a very interesting history. Some of the youtube videos give a good idea who he is. His acting style is definitely understated but he has a very funny way of getting through scenes. Set and filmed in New York City.

He is Will Henry, a cartoonist, married with young twin girls. As the movie starts, on the girls' birthday turning 5 he goes upstairs to find his wife and a "friend" in the bedroom. He is devastated, she needs her space. So he becomes a part-time dad, a situation which creates many interesting situations.

He also teaches and one of his students approaches him to meet her mother, who is Regina Hall as Diane. The daughter is Jessica Williams as 19-yr-old Kat. Will's wife is played well by Stephanie Allynne as Charlie.

The twins are played by real twins Aundrea and Gia Gadsby. Looking at a few photos of them together it seems they are identical twins.

Overall a nicely entertaining movie.
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A funny, heartfelt comedy/drama
blakelockett4513 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Jemaine Clement turns in a great performance as Will Henry, a comic book artist and teacher in People Places Things. The story revolves around his struggle to maintain his family life and be a stable parent to his two young daughters when a split causes imbalance. Jemaine Clement is definitely the driving force here and writer/director James C. Strouse creates a very realistic, yet entertaining portrait of life. Clement's performance is star turning and we should be expecting to see him as a leading man much more often, he proves not only his acting ability and range, but also that he can keep up his trademark quirky comedy style at the same time. The film provides a funny, heartfelt and realistic portrait of family life. Eight out of ten stars.
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Jemaine Clement is always fun to watch
deloudelouvain10 January 2016
It might not be the funniest movie I have ever seen and if it wasn't that Jemaine Clement plays in it I probably would not even have watched it. But since I saw Flight of the Conchords I have a weak spot for Jemaine Clement. That show was so funny to watch that I just looked him up on here and then I fell on People Places Things. It's an easy movie to watch, nothing complicated apart of his life in the movie then. Jemaine Clement has one of those faces that makes you laugh. And certainly with his deep New-Zealand accent. So to me it was just a fun movie to watch. Maybe not the kind of movie I would have gone for because it's more dramatic then funny but nevertheless it's worth a watch. If you like Jemaine Clement and you like silly humor then you should definitely watch Flight of the Conchords though.
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I watched it for the t**ts but stayed for the feels.
koshdegr813 October 2015
Really a special movie depend on the mood your on when you hit play from start you gona have great to f**king amazing time. The humour is fresh the script feel great backed up by some great acting.Jemaine Clement is beautiful these days no matter what he plays and i am growing more an more fond of him. I might take a hit for this next statement by am gona say it anyway. The story is more sportive from a male perspective rather than a female and due to that there be more fan of this film on male side than the female. The lead is male i do take that into account but its just that the amount simphty they made you show for Will and from his side i feel they left a lot of room to dewell from his ex wife perspective. Give this lovely movie a try a good short flick for the lonely hearts.
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She gets the house in Brooklyn Heights; he gets the moral high ground
The_late_Buddy_Ryan3 December 2015
One of the better unheralded indies that's turned up on Netflix lately. Seems more like a very long comedy pilot than a feature film, but we were totally fine with that. Jemaine Clement (as Will, a comic-strip artist and SVA instructor), Jessica Williams (his student) and Regina Hall (her mother, a Columbia prof), plus the two little girls, are mostly just being their charming selves, with Will's ex-wife Charlie and rival Gary on hand as ordinary messed-up mortals to provide a semblance of a plot.

The script takes a few shortcuts; sometimes we're in romcom fantasyland ("their lips locked after an intense discussion of the literary merits of the graphic novel"), and w/d Jim Strouse, who's said to have based the screenplay on his own divorce, may have stacked the deck by making Charlie so volatile, not to mention a bit of a sorehead. The scene in which Will (almost?) trashes a promising new relationship b/c he's misread confusing signals from her—which serves as the low-key climax —is right on the money though, and the film overall, like a good graphic novel, strikes a nice balance between confession and entertainment.

Fun fact—I'm pretty sure the graphic novel that inspires Regina Hall's change of heart about the validity of the art form is Alison Bechdel's "Are You My Mother?" We get a brief glimpse of its distinctive blue-green cover on a table in her apartment. Good choice!
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Refreshing original, full of heart and laughs
maccas7519 May 2016
People, Places, Things sees hilarious New Zealander, Jemaine Clement, playing Will, a bloke trying to get his life together again after discovering his wife shagging a guy called Gary.

This was one of the most heartfelt and sincere films I've had the pleasure of watching in sometime. It not only portrays realistic relationships and emotional drama, but does so with a large dose of laughs throughout. The script is clever, witty and filled with hilarious one-liners seemingly made for Jemaine's deadpan comedic delivery.

The funniest and often most touching scenes are those Will shares with his two daughters (played by the talented Gadsby girls). It's in these scenes Clement's unique comedy hits overdrive, no doubt also drawing from his own parenting experiences. I couldn't help thinking Flight of the Conchords' 'Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That)' charity single also helped these interactions. Released to benefit New Zealand children's charity, Cure Kids, the video clip featured Bret and Jemaine hilariously interviewing NZ schoolchildren. These scenes often left me laughing or having an "Awww" moment.

The comic book element to the story provided some intelligent linking throughout the film. It was also in Will's classroom scenes that his vulnerability shone through, often with self-depreciating laugh-out-loud moments.

Stephanie Allynne as Will's ex-wife, Charlie, succeeds in playing one of the most annoying characters in recent memory. Kudos to her for making me feel anger and resentment towards the character of Charlie. Scenes featuring Gary (Michael Chernus) and Will were of great comedic value, with 'Gary' having a distinct "Conchords vibe" about him. Kat (Jessica Williams) and Diane (Regina Hall) were excellent in their roles of helping Will on his path moving forward.

Those who had the pleasure of seeing Mark Ruffalo in last year's 'Infinitely Polar Bear' will most likely draw comparisons between these films. Ultimately, it's a film about a father's love for his children, finding closure during break-ups and learning to move forward in life. It succeeds in everything it tries to do and does so while remaining fresh throughout.

Highly recommend this little gem – especially for fans of Flight of the Conchords, Infinitely Polar Bear, Juno and Eagle vs Shark.
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Happiness is not a sustainable condition.
missmelony23 January 2016
Will Henry: Everything is going to be okay. Charlie: How do you know? Will Henry: I don't, but it just helps sometimes to say that.

I really enjoyed this movie for its simplicity, honesty, and pace. I wanted more when it ended, but it left it exactly where it needed to be left to tell the story. It's a thinking movie and it allows the viewer to take a part in the story, much like the graphic novels and comic books that the main character teaches on.

The artist who drew the graphic art did an amazing Job capturing the movie in pictures, and Clement who has always been one of my fav comedians does an excellent job with the serious subject while still adding enough humor to not make this super depressing. Its real and honest and simple and thats what makes it a great movie.

Happiness is not a sustainable condition. Rating: 4 Cages
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The Casting Couldn't Have Been Better
colormewithyou3 December 2015
Usually when I watch movies, there is always that one actor/actress that I can't stand or don't think they've done the best job. My feelings are the exact opposite in this movie. I genuinely cared about each character and loved each actress/actor portraying them. I think the writers did a phenomenal job with the charisma of the entire group. I was emotionally attached to each story-line and was heavily interested in what was going to happen next. The twins are adorable! I loved Kat; I thought she was hilarious. The sassy one liners and the entire feel of the movie easily helped me confirm that this is now one of my Top 5 movies that I've ever watched. I loved it!
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