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Please Give (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 90 minutes
Genre: Dramedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDY, English, Spanish, French
Starring: Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peet, Sarah Steele, Ann Gilbert
Written & Directed by: Nicole Holofcener
Music by: Marcelo Zarvos
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 19, 2010

"Examine the wit and dysfunction of life, death and everything in between"

Film Synopsis:

Married antique-dealers, Kate and Alex (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) plan on gutting the apartment they own next door to expand their own pad once Andra, the cranky, elderly widow (Ann Guilbert) who lives there, finally dies. When Kate, conflicted with her own guilt, befriends Andra’s granddaughters (Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet), the results are anything but predictable in this devastatingly funny comedy that examines life and death… and everything in between!

My Take:

Kate and Alex own/operate a successful Manhattan furniture store, reselling “trendy” mid-century modern treasures purchased from the estates of the newly deceased. Wanting to enlarge and remodel the apartment where they live with their acne-ridden teenage daughter Abby, they've bought the unit neighboring their own. But before they can expand their home, they must wait for the current tenant - cranky, 91-year-old Andra, to die. With fairly good intentions Kate's family gets to know Andra and her granddaughters, Rebecca and Mary who look after her.

Please give is a character driven dramedy that comes from the mind of independent filmmaker Nicole Holocener. Her scenarios like her characters are carefully drawn and attempt to speak to our sensibilities while subtly tickling our funny bone. Kate, the story’s central figure, is an emotive woman with deep running feelings of empathy that extend to pretty much everyone except for her daughter Abby. Abby is a fairly typical teenager who is insecure about her looks thanks to a very bad outbreak of acne on her face. Affable dad Alex is a good husband and father that enjoys a close relationship with his family. Rebecca is a mammogram technician and when not working spends much of her time taking care of grandmother Andra, a cantankerous and brutally frank 91 year old woman that lives in the apartment next door to Alex, Kate, and Abby. Rebecca’s older sister Mary works in a salon, loves to tan and has an embittered and contentious relationship with Andra. Rebecca doesn’t have a social life and at first glance would appear to be a twenty something spinster. Mary puts up a façade of confidence via straight talking and a pretty face but underneath has issues of self-doubt.

Holofcener’s narrative slowly unfolds as it presents the defining complexities inherent in the relationships among these people both separately and when they converge. The convergence tends to fuel the film’s best moments as animosity, infidelity, friendship, and empathy make for awkward interplay, sharp wit, and rewarding poignancy that revolves around the human condition. When the smoke clears everyone learns something important about themselves and perhaps one another. The film’s positive message is obvious but not overtly melodramatic as it allows us to examine our own sensibilities through the eyes of these six people. The cast, especially Catherine Keener and Rebecca Hall, is well placed as each strikes the right chord in a wonderfully genuine way. Having never heard of this film prior to receiving it for review I am glad that it came my way as it was time well spent.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for language, some sexual content and nudity.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 74

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 76

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Please give comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.

This video presentation offers little in the way of highly polished, razor sharp images but it seems to represent the film’s elements well. Colors are rendered naturally with a pleasing level of saturation that works well against the story’s autumn setting and New York City backdrop. Resolution is good but the film’s softer elements result in smoother lines and average levels of refinement. Close ups and mid level shots are a bit more revealing of subtle nuance and resolvable detail but lack the definitive clarity of the better high definition releases available. This appears innate to the photography and seems apropos with respect to the tone of the film. Contrast is on the money with average blacks that aren’t especially eye catching. This isn’t really a problem as there are few scenes that utilized low level material where this is readily apparent. I saw no overt signs of video anomalies or its related artifacts.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack delivered crisp, full bodied dialogue in a front loaded design that offers adequate and well balanced sound quality. There is no real low frequency detail mixed to the subwoofer but in this film there really was little call for it. The blend of music, voices and sounds through the front channel speakers is rendered with good clarity, and average depth. I thought the track mated well with the source material and sounded fine.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Behind the scenes of Please give – 12 minute production featurette

  • Outtakes – 4 minutes

  • Nicole Holofcener Q&A – 4 segments

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • (HD) Previews: Mother and child, Mimacs, Get low, Animal kingdom, You will meet a tall dark stranger, Eat pray love, The pillars of the earth

  • BD-Live enabled

Final Thoughts:

Please give is a character driven and darkly comedic drama from independent filmmaker Nicole Holofcener. I found its well drawn characters, sharp wit, and rewarding poignancy, as told via Holofcener’s slow building and rather non-traditional narrative, to be refreshing and entertaining. Sony’s high definition presentation on Blu-ray offers little fanfare but it appears to transparently render the film’s elements. The included bonus supplements consist of a standard production featurette, outtakes and a Q&A with writer/director Nicole Holofcener. Please give may not appeal to everyone but I found it worthwhile. I recommend that you toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
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Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 11

I love the cast, Platt and Keener are two of my Favs.
never heard of it, will give it a watch now based on this review.

PS I trusted you on the Jonses and the wife and I loved it!
post #3 of 11
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post


I love the cast, Platt and Keener are two of my Favs.
never heard of it, will give it a watch now based on this review.

PS I trusted you on the Jonses and the wife and I loved it!

Damned stripped-down Fox rental copies just don't work on my player (tho PREDATORS did) so I have to see THE JONESES either OnDemand or wait for the pay cable run.

Ralph is totally on-the-nose with PLEASE GIVE, regarding both the film and the BD presentation, although I did notice some ambient surround activity now and then. Though the movie was not up to the level of her previous FRIENDS WITH MONEY, I enjoyed spending time with the characters and was never bored.
post #4 of 11
After seeing the trailer for this movie a while back it didn't really grab my attention. Thought it was just ok. Based on this review though i think i'll take it for a spin. The score itself sounds like a rental.

post #5 of 11
I got this in the mail yesterday and I'll give it a spin soon. I too liked the cast and Ralph, your review mirrors my initial impression upon reading the synopsis, so I'll throw in my 2 cents worth after viewing it, a little farther down the line !.
post #6 of 11
Ralph's review sez it all! it was definitely time well spent and a fun watch.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Chewbacco View Post

Ralph's review sez it all! it was definitely time well spent and a fun watch.


Thanks for posting your thoughts Chewy. Glad you enjoyed it!

post #8 of 11
I read the subject and thought Ralph was starting to ask for donations!
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by JDLIVE View Post

I read the subject and thought Ralph was starting to ask for donations!


post #10 of 11
This was a refreshing film that breaks from the norm with the unique lives, careers, and motivations of the characters. Enjoyed it more than I expected, and I liked the break from the cookie cutter films which are all too common these days.

Your excellent review covers it Ralph. I'll just add a few other things that come to mind thinking back on this one...

Loved the interaction of the daughter, Abby, with her mom. Not only is she dealing with the typical teen issues like working to be popular, acne, etc, but she also feels the double standard of how her mom spends her cash. She'll buy herself expensive jeans, give money to the needy, but is tight fisted with cash for her daughter. The frustration of Abby was well played.

I felt the interaction of Alex and Mary's characters didn't seem all that plausible to me, which is probably my only negative critique in the script.

Rebeca's character was the best played in my opinion. Rebecca Hall did a fantastic job. Sort of the glue that tied the story together.

All in all, an entertaining film and worth the watch.

Picture quality was fine. I didn't come away looking for something much better. Sound quality was just fine for this film too. Good dialogue intelligibility.

PQ 3.5 out of 5, SQ 3.5 out of 5, Film 3.5 out of 5

post #11 of 11
Well worth a rental.

Good to see a film that gets away from the standard, by the numbers, plot line.

It was also refreshing to see Oliver Platt in something other than his typical fast talking guy who is usually an agent or laywer for some main character in a movie.
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