DVD Review: People Places Things


Based on its plot, People Places Things did not look all that interesting to me. However, due to the presence Jemaine Clement, I was at least curious to see his performance. I am very glad I chose to watch this film, because it is quite good.

Will Henry (Clement) is a comic book artist, teacher and father of two adorable twin girls, Clio and Colette. Will’s life is turned upside down when he catches his wife, Charlie (Stephanie Allynne), cheating on him. The rest of the film is Will trying to figure out what his life is now that his marriage is over.

Like I said, it’s not the most original story, but there is a certain awkward charm to this film that makes it a delight to watch. It offers up that playful awkwardness that one might find in an episode of Flight of the Conchords while avoiding the painfully awkward moments of other Clement films like Eagle vs Shark.

While trying to come to terms with his new single life one of his students, Kat (Jessica Williams), introduces him to her single mom, Diane (Regina Hall). The development of the relationship between Diane and Will might be the best part of this film, maybe second only to the adorably cute moments of Will spending time with his daughters.

There is a certain realness to this film that makes it all very relatable. Will is trying to process a lot of different emotions throughout this film. There comes a moment when he confronts his ex-wife’s soon to be husband Gary (Michael Chernus) and tells him. “I think I’m going to punch you now.” When Gary agrees and accepts that he is going to be punched Will gets even angrier that Gary is so accommodating. It’s a very funny scene.

People Places Things walks the fragile line between cute, sad, and awkward. It is a perfect vehicle for Jemaine Clement to show his acting chops. He is a good gut just trying to deal with a really crappy situation. The more confusing the situation gets the more confused and frustrated he becomes, and rightly so. The way Will deals with these life changes through his art, one can only imagine that writer/director Jim Strouse probably wrote this film dealing with his own issues. It feels like it could be very biographical, though I’m not sure.

The only thing in the film that I found hard to believe was Jessica Williams playing a 19 year old. Maybe that’s just because I see her on The Daily Show so often now. Not to knock her performance, she’s great in this, she just doesn’t seem as young as her character is supposed to be.

If you are a fan of Flight of the Conchords and enjoy Jemaine Clement, then this is absolutely a film you need to check out. You won’t be disappointed.

The film is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen format and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. This is a great looking indie film and the sound is fine.

There are no special features.

I didn’t have high hopes going in, other than expecting to enjoy Clement’s performance, but I ended up quite enjoying the whole thing. I’m really glad I took the time to sit down and watch this film and you will too.

Alchemy presents People Places Things. Written and Directed by Jim Strouse. Starring Jemaine Clement, Regina Hall, Jessica Williams and Stephanie Allynne. Running time: 94 min. Rating: R. Released on DVD: October 6, 2015.

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