Pine, best known as Capt. Kirk in the Star Trek reboot, comes into his own here, as does the better known Banks, who hasn’t been asked before to carry this much narrative weight. We’ve seen her sort of harried single-mom character before on the big screen—trying to make ends meet while facing up to her child’s trouble-making tendencies—but Frankie is an interesting contradiction. She attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings when she’s not working as a bartender. She’s learned from her past mistakes, but she’s also not without regrets, bonding with Sam over a shared disappointment from earlier in their lives.

People Like Us has a few moments that are too familiar, usually set to a soft, acoustic guitar-based score that unnecessarily dictates the emotional responses the film would have accomplished without the extra help. But its “awww-shucks” sentimental moments are more than balanced out by the uncertainty of how the film will resolve the relationship between Sam and Frankie. Rather than give the pair a smoothed over road to a romantic happy-ever-after, the film pushes right to the point where one of the leads makes a move on the other (the preview audience gasped during the screening, and several people shouted, “No!”) before pivoting to a graceful, touching conclusion.

During a summer season driven by loud blockbusters, “graceful” and “touching” might have a hard time finding an audience, but a film as well written and performed as People Like Us deserves a following. It’s not a perfect film, but for everything it gets rights, People Like Us is a film to seek out and discuss.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: Christ’s sake”; “s-it”/”bull-hit”; an obscene gesture; a gay joke; crude reference to male anatomy; “a-s”; the f-word.
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: Sam’s boss says he has a son in rehab; scenes of drinking; Frankie is an alcoholic who attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings; characters smoke; reference to an alcoholic love child; drug use; characters share a joint; Frankie says she used to “drink” and “bump.”
  • Sex/Nudity: Frankie shows cleavage; Frankie jumps on a neighbor suddenly and has sex with him; a derogatory reference to being a “technical virgin”; Frankie says she used to “get laid” and isn’t sure which man fathered her child; allusion to masturbation; advice offered to Josh includes, “Never sleep with someone who has more problems than you.”
  • Violence/Crime: Sam’s mom slaps his face; reckless driving; Frankie slaps and hits Sam.
  • MarriageSam’s boss says he has two ex-wives; Sam thinks Frankie was his dad’s mistress; Sam’s mother is confronted with details about her husband’s other family.
  • Religion/Morals: A character asks for forgiveness.


Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.