Family is one of the most important things in a person’s life. Alex Kurtzman demonstrates that fact in his directorial debut People Like Us. The film may not be particularly ground-breaking, but its sentimentality and sweet story is enough to warm moviegoer’s hearts across the nation.
- Director: Alex Kurtzman
- Writers: Jody Lambert, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
- Cast: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass
- Music: A.R. Rahman
- Cinematography: Salvatore Totino
Sam (Pine) has seen better days. Not only is he stuck in the middle of a horrible lawsuit but he’s massively in debt. To make things worse, his father just passed away. When he flies back home to Los Angeles he makes a startling discovery; he has a half-sister (Banks) who lives at the other end of town that he never knew about. Once he gets close to her and figures out who she is, Sam begins a path of self-discovery through the most troubling and vulnerable point in his life.
- Kurtzman Behind the Camera: So far, we only know Kurtzman as one of two writers who’ve helped revamp the Star Trek franchise. While he’s better known for more commercial work, it’s refreshing not only to see him co-write a unique story but to have it be his directorial debut. Kurtzman’s directing style may be simple to a degree but he manages to fill each scene with a beautiful backdrop and the fervor of the actor’s performance. Which leads us to our next good point…
- The Actors: Each of the main actors stand out in their own way due to their previous projects. But when you put them together in a dramatic yet charming piece like this, they work perfectly. The dynamic between Pine and Bank’s is grand. Frankie’s (Banks) kid, played by Michael Hall D’Addario, is a charming budding talent (though we think he needs a haircut). There’s so much emotion and thought going on behind the eyes of each character. They do a great job conveying it on the screen.
- (Most of) The Story: As you may or may not know, People Like Us is loosely based off a similar experience from Kurtzman’s life. Since this tale is so near and dear to his heart, it took seven to eight years to bring it to life. It was well worth the wait. It’s easily one of the better movies him and Orci have written. They created elaborate characters we care about from beginning to end. More than anything, this is a sweet character piece and it shows.
- The Music: A.R. Rahman composed a soft, slightly subtle but still equally powerful score for People Like Us. The music tells a story just as much as the actors do.
- Soaking it in Color: Again, we run into a problem that’s very common in movies made in recent years — the color scheme. We don’t need our landscapes and people over saturated in different hues of blue, green and magenta. If the actors are doing their jobs and properly portraying what’s in the scene, there’s no need for it.
- (Mild Spoilers) The Ending: We don’t exactly oppose what we saw as the ending. But when the big reveal happens, it veers a little too much into (possible) incest territory. Frankie’s sudden hug to Sam before he tells her the truth is just a little too close for comfort. You could feel the rest of the theater edge back in their seat when it happened. We understand the two became close within a few weeks and we know Frankie’s a lonely single mom. To top it off, after he tells her the truth they have this strange, awkward tension between them. It largely had to do with her almost trying to make out with him. We could have done without that.
While People Like Us has a couple of bumps within the narrative, it still holds up as a solid dramatic picture.
People Like Us is out in theaters nationwide on June 29, 2012.
Will you be seeing People Like Us this weekend?