Other People can be summed up in the scene before the opening credits: a family embraced on the bed mourns the death of their mother. In the background, an endless voicemail message from a friend, who wants to have news about the health of the woman but is distracted by an emergency order at a tacos fast-food.
After this opening scene, Chris Kelly – four times nominated for an Emmy for his role as author (today supervisor) for Saturday Night Live – takes us back a year to track grueling months that have led to this scenario.
Other People: the story
Everything starts with David (Jesse Plemons), a gay writer of comedies, which temporarily moves from New York to Sacramento, where his younger sisters and conservative father are taking care of the mother Joanne (Molly Shannon) who has cancer.
David’s personal life is in shambles and his search for comfort detach him from his personal struggles: from a job (as a television writer) that fails to take off, from a relationship with his boyfriend in crisis and a homophobe father.
David’s strength returns when his only gay friend in the city, Gabe, brings to mind the memory of his mother – she died of cancer too – in birch trees (Every time I see one, I will think “That’s Mom!”).
So David begin to look for his birch time, a search that culminates in a beautiful scene where Joanne, with a weak voice blurred from a whisper, asked David to not forget her when she will be gone. It proposes the solution: “I’ll be there in all your faces. When you miss me and want to see me, come home and watch your sisters.”
The whole film is about this: the search of David for what should learn from this bad experience. But while that happens, David look in the wrong places – work, love, homosexuality not accepted by his father – obsessed with what might be this lesson.
Other People shows new shades of a tragedy, with absolute comic moments. The best is when the adoptive brother of Gabe, fiercely effeminate and attracted by the drag world, creates a show in the living room of the house impersonating a popstar with sexy movements and final rain effect.