It is almost inevitable that a death in the family brings about a streak of self realization. It can also tear apart a family or reunite it or even a bit of both.
The American film “Give or Take” examines bereavement and its effect on family and friends.
Kenneth dies in Cape Cod leaving a gay lover Ted (Norbert Leo Butz) behind that he had been living with for 6 years. Kenneth was married until his wife died and decided to finally emerge from the closet. His son Martin (Jamie Effros) lives in New York City with Lauren (Annapurna Sriram) his girlfriend. Martin arrives in Cape Cod for his father’s funeral and ill will is initially strong between Martin and Ted. Ted knows the out of the closet Kenneth while his son Martin knows the Kenneth of the past. Gradually Ted and Martin realize they loved Kenneth but in different ways and this edges them closer together. Both Ted and Martin come to this realization and the conflict between them subsides. Martin also starts to question the relationship he has with his girlfriend. He also re-establishes his friendship with his childhood friend Emma (Joanne Tucker) and makes a new friend with her husband a pseudo philosopher Terence (Louis Cancelmi).
Comic relief is provided by wormy realtor Patti King (Cheri Otteri) who is the type of agent that would sell her mother if she could. Butz also offers a certain quirkiness and slovenliness that is amusing. Terrence is even more quirky digging a hole in the beach to smoke weed and see the world from ground level.
Excellent writing by Jamie Effros and Paul Riccio coupled with solid acting by all particularly by Butz give the film an insight into the bereavement process and how it alters those with connections to the deceased in a meaningful and thought-provoking way. The storyline could have easily degenerated into sentimental sloppiness.
You can catch the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip00jAtuW3w
“Give or Take” will be released on February 22, 2022 on DVD and digital platforms including iTunes/Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Vimeo, DirecTV and through some cable and satellite providers. It is directed by Paul Riccio.
RKS Film Rating 83/100.