Every once in a while you come across a film that really speaks to you. It might not be the smoothest storyline, the characters might be messy and chaotic, but they are so true to life and their message is so easy to understand, that you feel you could be one of them.
For me, happythankyoumoreplease is such a movie.
This indie flick is billed as a romantic comedy, but don’t let that genre scare you away. It’s a film about growing up, accepting that you deserve happiness the way you are and being grateful.
Happythankyoumoreplease is a great directorial and screenwriting debut for Josh Radnor (Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother), who stars as Sam Wexler in this heartfelt and observant 2011 film, which won the Sundance Audience Award.
The film has four storylines that interweave to varying degrees. The main story follows Sam who is a writer in his late twenties, trying to make it in New York City and move on from short stories to novels. His life takes an unexpected turn when he witnesses a young boy getting separated from his foster family on the subway. Sam wants to do the right thing and takes Rasheen (Michael Algieri) to the police, but the boy takes off and Sam, feeling responsible for the boy who doesn’t know his own age, makes it his duty to look after him. So Sam takes him in and they become friends.
Sam’s best friend is Annie (Malin Akerman) who has alopecia. It is refreshing that her condition is not the focus of the story as it would be in a Hollywood blockbuster. She is bald, she wears colourful headscarves and she gets on with life, although she feels that she’s not worthy of being adored. Her coworker, who she calls “Sam #2” (Tony Hale), is trying to change that.
Then there is Sam’s cousin Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and her boyfriend Charlie (Pablo Schreiber) whose relationship is put to the test over the question whether he should give up his dream or she should give up her home in order for them to stay together.
Last but not least, there is Sam again, and cabaret singer Mississippi (Kate Mara). Despite hardly knowing each other, they are both at that restless and reckless stage of looking for something more, and she agrees to move in with Sam for three days and see how it goes.
Happythankyoumoreplease is an optimistic film. It’s actually quite uplifting to watch a movie about singles in New York that is neither overly sweet nor downright depressing. This is the life of New Yorkers away from the tourist attractions. These are characters every neighbourhood has. To me, this down-to-earth and more authentic approach that’s a little rough around the edges like the characters in it, is the appeal of indie films like this.
Josh Radnor knows how to make characters come to life, both in the way he writes them and how he portrays them. And then there’s his dialogue. It’s witty, realistic and quirky, and it sometimes imparts profound life lessons without being lecturing. It’s a fantastic writing debut.
Annie, who appears so full of life, says “I’m so sick of optimism. It’s f***ing exhausting” – a sentiment everybody who has had to put on a smile to hide their true feelings will share. One of the quote that will stay with you the longest, though, is this:
And with a possitive outlook like that, growing up, taking responsibility, cleaning each other up and accepting that you’re worthy of affection is not that daunting anymore.
This film has become an instant favourite. Happy. Thank you. More, please!