Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Happythankyoumoreplease (DVD Review)

DVD review of the beautiful and touching drama Happythankyoumoreplease starring Josh Radnor, Michael Algieri, Malin Akerman and Kate Mara.

Photo - Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment

Writer/Dir: Josh Radnor - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Josh Radnor, Michael Algieri, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan, Pablo Schreiber, Tony Hale
USA, 2011

Reason to see: Had strong acclaim which got me curious.

Happythankyoumoreplease is a fantastic film following the lives of friends in New York. I almsot hesitate to open with that as it sounds so cliche or blase, but believe me Happythankyoumoreplease is neither blase or cliche, it's very honest, funny and emotionally real. I loved that it finds the truth of it's characters, and even when those truths are not the most glamourous or endearing, it still shows them with an honest and open light.

We follow Sam (Josh Radnor who also wrote, directed & produced the film) a writing working on getting his book published and making the transition from short stories to novels. He's friends with Annie (Malin Akerman of Watchmen), pseudo-cousins with Mary-Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and currently interested in Mississippi (Kate Mara). Wow, I just noticed that one of the things I loved about the film was that it showed non-romantic male/female relationships, and that's even more evident as the other guys in the film are mostly attached to one of the women's stories, not Sam's story. Furthering the drama is Mary-Catherine whose is at a tipping point in her relationship with Charlie (Pablo Schreiber) and Malin Akerman dealing with the challenges of love and work, or sometimes both with another Sam in the film, played by Tony Hale.

The cast is amazing at showing the depth and complexity to the relationships of the characters. I was particulary taken with Malin Akerman and Zoe Kazan, as well as the young Michael Algieri who plays Rasheen. I also loved that our main guy Sam (Josh Radnor) is that amazing balance of not unlikable, but so 'guy' ish, doing things that you think "He isn't going to do that.. is he?" and is believable 100% of the time. I always believed the characters in the film, their troubles and trials along the way, from their outbursts to their moments of acceptance and true friendship. The film really resonated for me on a positive emotional level, something that feels rather rare. Happythankyoumoreplease lays things bare and is emotionally real without feeling like you are being raked over the coals. I felt for each and every character in the film, whether they we doing something beautiful or being a bit of a jerk, you could always understand where they were coming from and why they did what they did. A truly masterful film and one that I highly recommend.

DVD Extras:
  • Audio Commentary with producer/writer/director/actor Josh Radnor and producer Jesse Hara I really enjoyed the commentary which serves as a open discussion and reflection on the film and process of film from decisions of locations, casting, working with the actors and actor interaction, the timing and locations of when scenes where shot, on what was improved on the day, logistics, changes along the way, the use of music including the score and songs by Jaymay, the inspiration for moments, lines and characters plus using the red camera, being a first time filmmaker, shooting in 22 days, the challenge on independent cinema, on being festival circuit and lots of notations and shout outs to friends, extras and people that helped and supported the film along the way.
  • Happythankyoumoremusicplease - featuring Jaymay (6 minutes) film clips, music and interviews with producer/writer/director/actor Josh Radnor, music supervisor Andy Gowan and singer/songwriter Jaymay on the music in the film in terms of how the music came together for the film, the New York nature of the music and the film, the emotional honesty of both the film characters and the music and how the music interplays with the film, especially with the song Never Be Daunted
  • Deleted Scenes (5 scenes, 9 minutes) great selection of scenes here and as often with extra scenes I can see why most of them were cut but I loved having the chances to see more from these fantastic actors in the roles of great characters. I was particularly with a scene between Zoe Kazan and Pablo Schreiber that had such an emotional intensity that it blew me away. Well worth checking out.
  • Trailer
Happythankyoumoreplease is available on DVD and BluRay as of June 21, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca (DVD), Amazon.ca [Blu-ray] & Amazon.com (DVD), Amazon.com [Blu-ray]

Shannon's Overall View:
I adored it
I'll watch it again
I highly & widely recommend it

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© Shannon Ridler, 2011

Josh Radnor and Kate Mara in Happythankyoumoreplease. Photo - Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment

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