¨My last image of my dad are taillights while he drove away to his other family.¨
People Like Us is a wonderful drama that will have you smiling in one scene and crying in the next. It´s a very emotional film with strong performances and an excellent script. This is one of my favorite films of the year. Many critics have said it has too much melodrama and feels like a soap opera, but I disagree completely. I found it to be very authentic and true to life; yes maybe a little too calculated, but it worked because it had a strong message. I loved the ending of the film as well; I left this movie completely satisfied and wanting to rewatch it. This is the first feature film by Alex Kurtzman who is known mostly for writing and producing films like Star Trek and Cowboys & Aliens and creating TV series like Fringe. This is a whole different genre for Kurtzman and he has made a wonderful and powerful film about family. He not only directed this film but wrote the powerful screenplay along with Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert and also produced it. I was really blown away with the movie, especially by the performance from Elizabeth Banks which in my opinion is her best work to date. She was great in this film and has such a powerful chemistry with Chris Pine. When I saw the poster for this movie I thought this was going to be another chick flick with the two leads playing love interests, but what a surprise it was to find out this wasn’t actually a romantic film, but a very thoughtful and emotional film about family. I believe that there are moments in our lives that deeply mark us and change us, and that is exactly what happened to Pine´s character who was a complete selfish prick and ended up being such a great guy that the audience could relate too. Many critics might think this was manipulative or too calculated, but I thought it rang true. I loved the way how each of the characters were developed and matured as the film moved on.
The film begins by introducing us to Sam (Chris Pine), a business facilitator who seems to be great at closing deals but not so much in following through with them. After making his biggest sell of the year he hears from his boss that his latest transaction went sour and that he must repay the troubles he has caused with his recently earned commission money. To make matters worse when he arrives home his girlfriend, Hannah (Olivia Wilde), informs him that his father has passed away. He wasn’t very close to his father and is basically forced by Hannah to fly to his mother´s home for the funeral. His mother, Lillian, played by Michelle Pfeiffer gives a very convincing performance of a grieving widow who has spent the last year in and out of hospitals due to her husband´s cancer. Once home Sam discovers that his father has left him with a task: He must find a woman named Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) and give her and her son Ted (Michael Hall D`Addario) 150,000 dollars and look out for them. Sam has no idea who this person is, and is really upset about not receiving any money, but his curiosity leads him to search for this person and discover who she is. He´s also tempted to keep the money, but when he realizes that Frankie is his sister things take a turn in his life. He befriends her without letting her know who he really is and their friendship begins to blossom. All these events begin to change Sam`s perspective about life and his estranged relationship with his father.
We discover in the very beginning that Frankie and Sam are brothers so I´m not giving away any important plot elements here. The importance of the film revolves around the relationship that blossoms between them and how Sam begins to realize why his father acted the way he did. I already mentioned the incredible chemistry between Pine and Banks and how fresh it felt that it wasn’t a romantic one but rather more of a bonding between a brother and a sister. Michelle Pfeiffer is also great here and has some important scenes with Pine that also felt very real. The kid in this movie playing Ted was also excellent and his chemistry with Pine also played out really well. Every single piece seemed to fit in perfectly in this small movie thanks to a very good screenplay. There were several touching and emotional moments and the film really builds up to a sweet and satisfying climax at the end. I have no doubts this movie will end up in my list for the top films of the year and Elizabeth Banks performance is one of my favorite female performances of the year. I absolutely recommend this movie.