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Chris Kelly’s Other People is an entertaining, human drama that gives a semi-autobiographical look at Kelly’s life. While there’s grim subject matter, Kelly makes the film seem natural in its character depiction, and genuine in its conclusion. While there are comedic elements that can be found, the drama is what hits hard.

David (Jesse Plemmons) is a comedy writer, struggling with a breakup, who returns to his hometown to care for his dying mother (Molly Shannon). The duo’s performances are both excellent, and Plemmons in particular does a great job at selling the comedic elements juxtaposed with serious scenes. The characters, based upon Kelly’s life, feel like they come from a real place, and there’s a dilemma and drama in each scene that feel undramatized and powerful.

Other People is a successful drama that blends some comedic elements into a heartful and realistic story. While there are some unnecessary subplots and undeveloped side characters, the film is very powerful in its character interactions, and gives a realistic look at what it means to be a writer and the importance of family. Complex and compelling, Other People is a winning debut. Grade: B+

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