Movie Review: Give or Take (2020)

Give or Take poster

Give or Take tells the story of Martin, a young man who has to come back home after his father dies and has to prepare the house for sale while sharing it with his father’s boyfriend.

Directed by: Paul Riccio.

Starring: Norbert Leo Butz, Jamie Effros, Joanne Tucker, Cheri Oteri, Louis Cancelmi, Annapurna Sriram, Jaden Waldman, Garry Mitchell, Shaun O’Hagan, Chris Fischer Roya Shanks, Kyle Overstreet.

Country: United States

Genre: Drama, comedy.

Running time: 104 minutes.

I believe that grief and all the probable behaviors and acts it produces represent freedom in a pure and unquestionable way. There are no wrongs or rights. There are no limits to what one can do to show sadness, anger, and ultimate acceptance. The amount of formulas is infinite. All of them are unique and perfect.

Give or Take portrays a relationship between two men who must deal with the loss of someone they thought each of them knew best. One is Martin, the son of that man who has recently passed away; a son whose relationship with his father was absolutely broken. The other is Ted, the deceased man’s boyfriend, a temperamental and soulful man who feels lost upon the death of the man he loved. Both will have to crossover to each other’s environments in order to move on if they can.

When the movie could enter a complex territory, it prefers to stay in the outline it presents with enough confidence to be just a movie about “coming home and dealing with the past, in order to go on with the present”. It could also overkill on the portrayal of homosexuality as an important factor for the final result of the inevitable cathartic moment. But the director masterfully downplays this aspect. The main theme to be explored is the awkwardness between two people who struggle to find empathy in a very hard situation.

Fortunately Give or Take relies solely on the effects of loss over the two main characters. Two pivotal scenes show them as peers with different views, but whose ways lead them into a common road. Even though the movie relies heavily on comedy, it’s never banal to comically play with a “father and son” relationship.

The movie would never work if it weren’t for the two main performances. Jamie Effros is Martin, and the actor does a good job at performing a character he practically wrote (he’s the co writer of the movie). But Norbert Leo Butz shines as Ted. The actor dominates each scene with the sensibility it requires and never falls short of impressive when staying silent and reflexive about the behavior of a man he doesn’t hate, but feels resentment for.

And this brings us to the rest of the cast and subplots of the movie which are only garnments in a very personal story. The depth of Martin and Ted is profoundly evidenced in the scenes where they perform against each other. Martin’s romantic subject, the relationship with the neighbors, and even the funny real state situation, end up being secondary to the movie. Sometimes the stuffing is absolutely unnecessary.

Give or Take is your typical “guy goes home, finds high school sweetheart, and reminisces in basement scenes”. But there’s nothing wrong with being typical. Even more so with a conflict as heavy and universal as death. For some that will never happen. And for others, it’s inevitable. Give or Take represents the necessary catharsis for its characters, and shows that the principles of sympathy should never be denied as basic traits for human understanding. That freedom I mentioned earlier is only effective if it works for moving on.

Star rating: 3 out of 4 stars

A trailer

Con información de IMDB

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