Please Give


Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35

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Critic Reviews

  1. This gorgeous film, always tender and sometimes dark, is a deeply resonant comic drama that's concerned with nothing less than life, death, love, sex, guilt and the urban logic of mortality.
  2. 100
    Holofcener's work is often classified as comedy of manners, but at her best she trades in something much more resonant--the comedy of mores. Here she dives into the fascinating matter of why some people impulsively give and others compulsively take, and how people are taught to second-guess and quash their own generous impulses.
  3. Sophisticated comedies have gone out of fashion, largely because Hollywood finds it easier and more profitable to simply gross out moviegoers. But Please Give has real class -- and for that it deserves our gratitude.
  4. 91
    Some people might find it distasteful to make a movie about guilty rich folks who give themselves permission to splurge. Others will rightly appreciate the honesty.
  5. In Please Give, the sharp-eyed filmmaker sends her vibrant representative out into the world to explore what it means for a woman to be lucky and still feel itchy. The report has the resonant ring of truth.
  6. With her new film, the poignant and funny Please Give, Holofcener is at the top of her game.
  7. 90
    I suspect nearly everyone who sees the picture will have a loud opinion about this ending, which is just one way Holofcener works her stealth magic as a filmmaker and storyteller: She doesn’t close up shop on her movie until she’s made each of us an honorary New Yorker — in other words, a person with a strong stance and something to say.
  8. Please Give is an almost perfectly rendered slice of life, buoyant with wonderful performances.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sometimes -- and far too rarely -- a film will hit all the right notes, with sharp, original dialogue, brilliant casting and an absorbing story. So caught up in its spell, you dread seeing the credits roll. Please Give is that movie.
  10. 88
    The pitch-perfect performances help Holofcener stir up feelings that cut to the heart of what defines an ethical life. There's no movie around right now with a subject more pertinent. It'll hit you hard.
  11. 88
    The movie is about imperfect characters in a difficult world, who mostly do the best they can under the circumstances, but not always. Do you realize what a revolutionary approach that is for a movie these days?
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Please Give is a moral comedy that feels at times like one of the late Eric Rohmer’s deceptively breezy miniatures, or a mid-period Woody Allen movie minus the fussiness.
  13. 88
    Holofcener has accrued a rabid, loyal following for her singular brand of observant wit and aching tenderness. Both pour forth in abundance in Please Give, a wry, wistful portrait of contemporary urban manners.
  14. 88
    The cast is uniformly spectacular, infusing the characters with nuance and complexity.
  15. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Like all her (Holofcener) movies, Please Give is multitonal, as tenderly sympathetic as it is tough toward all its tortured, even unlikable characters.
  16. 83
    There are laughs and moments of pain and many instances of embarrassing (and deeply human) behavior throughout, but there's also delicacy and grace.
  17. It may take some time but Nicole Holofcener’s latest effort gradually grows on you. Partly it’s her obvious affection for her oddball collection of characters; partly it’s the performances of the likes of Keener and Oliver Platt as her wayward husband.
  18. 80
    Like a finely wrought short story, and it's all but perfect.
  19. It's guilt that gives life, shape and depth to this uncommonly perceptive film.
  20. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    An indie with real pedigree and smarts, Holofcener's comedy of manners is well-observered and well worth watching.
  21. A stroll with these characters is a refreshing break from from the usual film exercises.
  22. The characters are entertainingly contradictory, though in a somewhat predictable way: Nice people aren’t honest, and honest people aren’t nice.
  23. A movie as generous, stingy, and biting - and memorable - as its six main characters.
  24. A dramatic comedy that is light on plot but generous in spirit, a leisurely, understated film that underscores the ever-present modern guilt while -- oddly, given the weightiness of that central conceit -- boasting a satisfying buoyancy.
  25. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Keener, so deliciously nasty in Holofcener's "Lovely and Amazing," is no less engaging here in what is, surprisingly, the film's least bitchy role.
  26. Holofcener’s plotting can seem casual (many characters, no speeches pointing up the themes, no conventional climaxes), but her dialogue is smart, an oscillating mixture of abrasiveness and balm, of harsh satire and compassionate pullback.
  27. 70
    It is, for the most part, witty and engrossing.
  28. Few American filmmakers create female characters as realistically funny, attractively imperfect and flat-out annoying as does Ms. Holofcener, whose features include “Friends With Money” and “Lovely & Amazing.”
  29. 67
    When the fadeout comes, viewers may feel as unsatisfied with the movie as these characters are with their lives.
  30. She has real sympathy--characters that might have been brittle, mockable creations in another writer-director’s hands gain resonance here. But the filmmaker also might have very little to say apart from the way guilt enters into life, and then suddenly recedes.
  31. Only Rebecca Hall comes through with a genuineness that rises above Holofcener’s doodlings. Her scenes with Guilbert resonate because, in the end, Rebecca is the only character in the movie who seems to care about anything other than his or her own – take your pick – bank account, complexion, weight, guilt. In this company, she’s practically a saint.
  32. Think of Please Give as a finely tuned short story with every glance and gesture full of suggestive meaning. Drama is not high on the agenda here. There is a bit of comedy and, briefly, sexual mischief even though it doesn't look like much fun.
  33. 50
    Two possible ways of regarding Please Give: It's shallow. Or maybe it's deeply shallow.
  34. Though I wish Please Give were a little better, there aren't enough American movies like it.
  35. 25
    At a time when every penny counts, where do they come up with the money to finance a movie this boring?

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 57 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
  1. DWillyB
    May 31, 2010
    I don't normally have much use for this type of film, I was left cold by this writer/director's "Friends With Money," but the I don't normally have much use for this type of film, I was left cold by this writer/director's "Friends With Money," but the ensemble performs flawlessly (directed to the height of their known capabilities) with a unique script that really has something to say, is moving and funny as hell. I can give it the highest compliment in that I've been thinking and talking about it all the following day now, and would like to see it again. Full Review »
  2. alexw
    May 4, 2010
    I was sad to see the reviews this movie received after thinking about it all evening....this movie was nearly perfect. Actors were pitch I was sad to see the reviews this movie received after thinking about it all evening....this movie was nearly perfect. Actors were pitch perfect... amanda peet especially. The script couldnt have more portrayed more perfectly New York City living- the characters, the apartment talk, and most importantly the balance between having a stone front and a warm heart. it was a fabulous hilarious and thoughtful movie. well done! Full Review »
  3. ScottB.
    May 2, 2010
    Honest, intelligent, original, funny, engaging, understated and clever. In a market with so many movies relying on it's main character Honest, intelligent, original, funny, engaging, understated and clever. In a market with so many movies relying on it's main character saving the world or blowing up a city, it is refreshing to have a movie where the excitement comes in a nod, gesture or any other slight movement that, here, has so much more meaning and resonance than any other movie where the lead characters do/accomplish 1000 times more than any of these characters do. SEE THIS MOVIE. Full Review »