On DO: ‘Please Give’ and Design People
When I first saw the house that is now my home, it was hardly in an appealing state. Every window was obscured layers of screens, shutters and (amateur) stained glass. The bathroom was encrusted in pink-orange Mexican tiles, with trim to match. The living room walls looked like they were covered in moldy cork, actually wallpaper. I saw a man walk in, blanch, and walk out the front door of the open house. Maybe it is only natural that, from the moment I entered, I wanted the furniture more than I wanted the house…
With this as background, you can imagine my glee at the second scene in Please Give, Nicole Holofcener’s new film, starring Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt as the owners of a vintage modern furniture shop. The son of the deceased is showing Kate (Keener) around a cluttered apartment, apologizing for the smell. We get a minute to see the room through her eyes: the clean lines of the beige sofa, the ladderback chairs around a dark oval table, the funky ceramic lamps. She asks a polite question about how old he thinks the furniture is. “You know, old,” he says. “That’s wood,” he adds, pointing pointlessly at the table. Kate begins to glide around, making small talk and small gestures. Raps on the coffee table. Lifts a cushion on the couch. Slides a hand along the dining table and, I thought, tries to peek underneath without obvious stooping. The man, who says he is not keeping his mother’s apartment, he prefers the suburbs, holds up a pretty/ugly vase covered in bright flowers, and mutters nervously: “I don’t want to throw away something priceless.”
Read the rest at Design Observer.