I had heard that Molly Shannon was amazing in Other People and I knew that was probably true, but I still didn’t want to watch it. Not interested in seeing Terms of Endearment (this time it’s the MOTHER!) or Beaches (another brunette dies!) movie
“But it’s about an amazing mother who has cancer and…”
“and she dies? Nope. Forget it.”
“But she’s brilliant”
“Not in the mood for an ugly cry.”
“like a sorority sister who didn’t get pledged” “like Oprah confessing she smoked crack”
and to illustrate I will mention…
Boys on the Side, a movie I hated. I knew it was going to be garbage, but sometimes I like seeing garbage movies because trashing a movie can be fun (Trashing : Garbage – see what I did there?). Little did I know that the sick and dying Mary Louise Parker would end up emaciated and singing in a wheelchair before she eventually perishes. Ugh. I kept my head down as soon as I found out she had AIDS because I knew what was coming. But there I was, head down in the cinema choking out sobs and hating every second of it.
But, I digress.
After hearing rave review after rave review, I decided to at least start watching Other People. And all I can tell you is that within the first five minutes I was relieved because you know who else hates those maudlin cancer movies as much as me (apparently)? The writer and director of Other People, Chris Kelly. The opening scene of death and tears is quickly interrupted by an obnoxious voicemail. Comedy and pain at its finest. And then you breathe a sign of relief knowing that though there is cancer in this movie, it will not be a cancer movie.
As the mother, Molly Shannon has great moments of displaying both pathos and humour. You can easily see why her son, played by Jesse Plemons, idolizes her. As the stand-in for writer/director Kelly, Plemons has a lot going on. He’s estranged from his homophobic father, not the wunderkind comedy writer that everyone believes him to be, lonely and of course, dealing with his mother’s demise. His best scenes are with Shannon, but she’s really the reason to see the movie anyway. Superstah.