Program 2 – Other People
USA / 2016 / 97 min. | Directed by: Chris Kelly
Comedy writer-director Chris Kelly draws from his own life experience for his debut feature film, Other People, a heartbreaking, often hilarious look at one young man’s year-long journey from agony to acceptance.
David (a fabulously understated Jesse Plemons, TV’s Breaking Bad, Fargo, and Friday Night Lights) is a 29-year-old comedy writer. He’s been living in New York City with Paul, his boyfriend of five years, and working hard on his career. But this is not a good year for David. In fact, it’s one of his worst. His writing career has still not taken off; he and Paul have broken up, and hardest of all, he must fly home to Sacramento to help care for his dying mother (Molly Shannon, Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, TV’s Saturday Night Live, in a shockingly gut-wrenching performance).
We spend the next twelve months with David as he watches his beloved mother’s health deteriorate, as she has to slowly let go of pieces and parts of her life – from her hair to her job – even as he tries to make her laugh while she does the same for him. He hides his breakup from her, not wanting to give her one more reason to die unhappy, but it eats at him, keeping him from noticing that his two younger sisters could use their big brother to lean on. It also doesn’t help his relationship with his father (Bradley Whitford, TV’s The West Wing, Transparent), which is perfectly fine unless it comes to David’s sexuality – something his father refuses to accept or even discuss. Unsurprisingly, keeping a brave front starts to send David into his own emotional meltdown as he struggles to stay strong for the sake of his family.
Peppered with a variety of sometimes zany, sometimes awesome supporting characters, and making us laugh exactly when we feel like the emotion is just too much, Other People packs in a tidal wave of pain, love, loss, and hilarity that anybody who’s nursed a loved one through cancer will instinctively recognize. And just like David, we will find that it is only when we dig through those feelings – every last one of them – that we will finally get to the actual heart.
Audience Award: BEST DRAMATIC NARRATIVE FEATURE Cinequest Film Festival Audience Award: BEST DRAMATIC NARRATIVE FEATURE Nantucket Film Festival Official Selection: CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION Outfest: Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival Official Selection: OPENING NIGHT SELECTION Inside Out Toronto LGBTQ Film Festival Official Selection: deadCenter Film Festival