Screening Room: People like us

(KTSF by Sean Au)

A man who is losing his ties with his family finds a family secret upon the death of his estranged father.

A slick New York salesman, Sam (Chris Pine), makes a trip to his family in Los Angeles when he learns that this father has died. The will has asked that Sam brings $150,000 in cash to an address and takes care of the people who live at this location. Sam finds out that the persons who are supposed to receive the money is a recovering alcoholic Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) and her son Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario) – a second secret family that his father had. Piled with a huge debt, Sam is tempted to keep the money but changes his mind after knowing about the half-sister and half-nephew that he never knew he had. Sam befriends the mother and son, but fails to reveal the truth until it is too late and someone gets hurt in the process.

Director Alex Kurtzman has been credited with writing and producing some Hollywood action blockbusters like “Transformers” and “Mission: Impossible,” but for his directorial debut, he looks within for source material. “I grow up loving directors who told stories that are personal where I felt like a fly on the wall watching real people doing real things,” says Kurtzman. “but I felt like as a director, my first time out, I was only going to get one shot to be that guy.”

Chris Pine, who plays Sam in the movie adds, “The movie speaks to people. It makes them think about their own families, their own relationships. So in order to make it come to life, I think it forces all of us to take a look at who we are, what our relationships to truth-telling is.”

The movie beats around the bush and takes a long time to get to the truth that Sam needs to tell, making viewers uneasy, not knowing where the story will go. That makes the relationships between the characters increasingly complicated. Yet, given this is a Hollywood movie and not a European one, the ending, to a certain extent, concludes with a certain level of satisfaction.

Bonus points should be given to the impressive cast playing low key flawed characters that we can identify with, making “People Like Us” a heart-warming tale in midst of summer blockbusters that we sometimes may just need to get away from.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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