Will Henry is a graphic novelist and a professor in NYC. At his adorable twin girls' fifth birthday party, Will's life is turned upside down when he walks in on the mother of his children, and longtime girlfriend, Charlie, with their friend Gary. One year later, Will is still alone and trying to put his life back together. He finds unexpected challenges when his talented student Kat tries to set Will up with her accomplished mother Diane. In this thoughtful comedy, Will is forced to navigate the unknown landscape of single fatherhood and dating in New York City, while remaining an inspiration for his students and coming to terms with himself both as a father as an artist.
I'm getting a better appreciation for smaller independent films these days, as I begin to tire of films that rely purely on loud screaming dialogue, constant action scenes, unimaginable CGI, and predictable humour. 'People, Places, Things' is another film that has an odd title; it tells you nothing about the film. And having seen no advertising for the film, I had no idea of it's very existence until I got offered the opportunity to see it.
This stars Jemaine Clement (most well-known from 'Flight of the Conchords'), and his dry, blunt (yet somehow still original and subtle) humour is very much the same as what we have come to expect from him. As usual, he has quite a monotonous voice, that doesn't really show much emotion, and he has a face that is the same. And yet he is still able to communicate a wide range of emotions and social awkwardness.
I had no idea what to expect, when I looked at the poster of Jemaine holding two little girls, as the rating warned 'Offensive language, sexual references, and nudity', but with the exception of the opening scene, this film could in fact be watched by most ages. But what you should definitely expect, is a bit of an artsy film. Jemaine plays a graphic artist who also teaches his art, and uses his life as the core focus of a lot of his teachings. He also does talk a lot about the importance of white spaces in graphic novels, which I found very useful as a budding amateur artist myself. As a quiet, non-vocal character, he uses illustrations to convey his feelings and thoughts rather than using a narrative; as pictures allow room for differences in translation. It allows each viewer to gain their own unique insight.
The comedic value of this film was surprising. It wasn't straight laughs, one after the other. Instead, the film was paced. It had serious parts, mixed with socially awkward, mixed with fun. And while the outcome of the film is rather predictable when you consider the start and finish, the journey along the way had you wondering which direction it would take.
I would actually like to see the story of this graphic artist, turned into a television series. The importance of graphic novels in a literature sense, is largely misunderstood, if not ignored completely. And frankly, I think the world has a lot to learn from them.
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