People, Places, Things: Film Review
Cast: Jemaine Clement, Stephanie Alleyne, Regina Hall, Jessica Williams
Director: James C Strouse
The gentle indie People, Places, Things is the latest film to showcase Jemaine Clement's softer side, while still revelling in the quirk.
He stars as Will Hall, a graphic novelist, newly single and trying to negotiate life with two young daughters, a lack of time to see them, while teaching a class on drawing. When he decides that he wants to see more of his girls, he finds himself out of his depth; and to further complicate matters, he ends up back in the relationship game...sort of.
With quirky dialogue, a touch of the melancholy and a very softly spoken Jemaine Clement, People, Places, Things is a lo-fi indie that has the charm, even if parts of its narrative feel like they have been thrown in for quirkiness' sake and to ensure the story goes on the right track for the audience's sake, rather than the characters.
But with a veracity and insight, there are moments to cherish such as the truth bombs dropped over the end of relationships - "She stopped talking and I enjoyed the silence too much" being one of the more candid moments that bristle with a stinging openness through the script.
Clement plays lost rather than man-child, and is never anything less than mopily plausible as the befuddled romantic lead who ambles from one moment to the next (even taking a moment to sass the American perception of New Zealand being solely about hobbits). Even if ironically, he ends up being the one with the most direct method to cut through life despite his earlier flailings, he makes Will a savvy individual who knows what the right thing to say is when the right moment comes along.
If anything, this piece is more The Unbearable Cuteness of Being, with cartoons helping with the narrative and helping set the back-story in a gently winsome way.
However, People Places Things succeeds in cutting through the usual romantic gloop and delivering an experience that is pleasant, pertinent and knowing.