Other People

Twenty-nine-year-old scriptwriter David is returning to his native Sacramento from New York to look after his mother Joanne, who is dying of cancer. He is returning defeated: the pilot of a show that he wrote has just been rejected and his boyfriend broke up with him on top of that. The icing on the cake in the series of unfortunate events is not only the terminal stage of his mother's illness, but also his religious father’s refusal to accept David's sexuality. The dramedy by Chris Kelly, a scriptwriter for Saturday Night Live, opened this year's Sundance, where it was received enthusiastically – also because it bends the clichés of tear-jerking dramas about death. The tone is set in the opening scene where Joanne is dying and her friend calls while making an order in a fast food restaurant to wish her a quick recovery. The partly autobiographical film spices up tragedy with comedy and offers a great acting opportunity for Molly Shannon, whose role as Joanne is as much of a revelation as Cynthia Nixon’s role in the recent, thematically similar drama James White.