Other People wasn’t even on my radar until two weeks ago when Judd Apatow tweeted that it was his favorite movie of the year. Of course Apatow also disclosed that his daughter is in the film, but given his track record I’ll pretty much check out anything he recommends or is involved with (despite This Is 40 being more insufferable than anyone who had a pony growing up). Now, I prefer to go into movies without knowing anything about it, and while this is usually impossible with our media saturated corneas, Other People was one of the rare instances where this was the case. All I had to go off of was this poster that pops up when you pull it up on Netflix.
To me, this looks like a romantic comedy about Jesse Plemons dating older woman Molly Shannon. Perhaps she’s his wacky boss? Or his wacky therapist? Or maybe his wacky childhood piano teacher? Doesn’t seem like something I’d be into at first glance, but again, Apatow Approved, so who knows. Well…after watching Other People I can firmly state that this is none of those things. Shannon and Plemons are not a couple, but rather a mother and son (duh). This is not a rom-com, but rather a sad-com. This is not something to maybe check out down the road if there’s nothing else on, but rather a sweet, absolute gem of a movie and a must see!
Written and directed by Chris Kelly (co-head writer of SNL), Other People is his semi-autobiographical tale of a tumultuous time in his late 20’s when he was a struggling comedy writer and had moved back home to care for his dying, cancer stricken mother. It’s not spoiler territory to reveal the fate of Shannon’s character because the very first scene of the movie is Plemons and the rest of his family mourning her death. The film then shoots back 12 months and details the year leading up to this life-altering event, yes incorporating many grim moments but also some legitimate laugh out loud scenes. Plemons’s profile has risen steadily since he was billed 10th on Friday Night Lights a decade ago, so I wasn’t surprised to see him fully step up as a leading man for the first time, but Shannon’s dramatic chops are revelation. Currently streaming on Netflix. Tier 1 – RATED GREG