A man and woman standing across from each other on a blue background surrounded by praise for the movie.


Title: Other People
Released: 2016

Fix: I Just Felt Too Happy Lately, Sure, It’s A Cancer Movie, But What Could Go Wrong?, Stupid Things People Say To The Grieving, Molly Shannon Is A Queen
Platforms: AppleTV (rent)

Official Summary:

A struggling comedy writer, fresh off a breakup and in the midst of the worst year of his life, returns to Sacramento to care for his dying mother.

FYA Summary: 

Poor David: he’s just broken up with his boyfriend of five years, the pilot he worked on for a year didn’t get picked up, and oh, yeah, his mom is dying of cancer. He leaves NYC for Sacramento, so that he can be with his mother during her last year of life, and finds that as much as things change, they stay the same. His father still won’t even acknowledge that he’s gay, and people from high school constantly pop up, reminding him of the unhappy person he was ten years ago. “This is something that happens to other people,” David says.

It’s all thoroughly depressing, but somehow, Other People gently skewers small-town Central Valley culture, all the stupid, well-meaning things people say to the grieving, and the way you can never really escape your family. Or, in the case of David’s mother Joanne, why you’d never really want to.

Familiar Faces:

Jesse Plemons as David

I loved Landry in Friday Night Lights (who didn’t?), and Jesse Plemons is perfect in the role of the dutiful misfit son. 

Molly Shannon as Joanne

Molly Shannon is seriously underrated as a dramatic actress. Watching Joanne’s vibrancy slip away, month by month, is too real.

Bradley Whitford as Norman

Maude Apatow as Alexandra

Wasn’t she, like, five years old just a minute ago?!

Couch-Sharing Capability: Self-Flagellators Anonymous

I’m not sure I’d gather ’round the couch for this one, unless you enjoy being depressed in a group. The movie definitely has moments of gallows humor, but it’s not the sort of knee-slapping humor I’d want to share with anyone. On the other hand, if you’ve been through the long, painful death of a loved one, you and your fellow family members/caretakers will probably find this grimly amusing. I can’t be the only person who has relatives that solely trade in “That Person You Met Once Fifteen Years Ago Just Died Horribly” reports, or know people who think alternative medicine is a complete substitute for science.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: At Least We’re Old Enough To Drink!

You’re going to need at least a glass of wine. Keep the whole bottle on hand, just in case.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: You Know What’s Up

This is a cancer movie, and if you’ll pardon my French, cancer fucking blows. The only reason I watched it was because the cast sounded too good to pass up, and I was right–Shannon and Plemons give their characters an incredible amount of depth. If you’re like me, and you thought Augustus Waters was an insufferable manic pixie cancer patient (at least in the movie), you’ll like the understated humor and lack of quirk here. (Well, mostly. Wait for the character named Justin.)

Basically, you know what’s up. Come for the catharsis, stay for the moments of absurdity that life tends to throw our way.