Other People (film)

Other People is a 2016 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Chris Kelly and starring Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford, Maude Apatow, Madisen Beaty, John Early, Zach Woods, Josie Totah, and June Squibb. It is a semi-autobiographical look at Kelly's family.

Other People
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChris Kelly
Produced by
Written byChris Kelly
Music byJulian Wass
CinematographyBrian Burgoyne
Edited byPatrick Colman
  • Park Pictures
  • Gettin' Rad Productions
Distributed byVertical Entertainment
Release date
  • January 21, 2016 (2016-01-21) (Sundance)
  • September 9, 2016 (2016-09-09) (United States)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$91,441[1]

The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2016.[2] The film was released on September 9, 2016, by Vertical Entertainment.[3]


David, a 29-year-old gay man, moves home to Sacramento to take care of his mother, Joanne, who’s in the advanced stages of leiomyosarcoma.[2] Being home is further complicated by his conservative, religious family and his father's refusal to accept his sexuality, ten years after he came out. As Joanne struggles through chemo, decides to quit treatment, and begins to decline, each of the family members deal with the inevitable loss in their own way.[4]



The film is loosely based on Kelly's own mother's death in 2009.[5] Kelly chose to deliberately start the film by showing Molly Shannon's character dying "because I didn’t want the movie to be about, 'Well, does she or doesn’t she?'" also noting that it sets the tone for the rest of the movie.[5] Shannon was an early choice for Kelly although his managers expressed doubt about this happening from an early stage. Kelly noted that Shannon in the film resembles his actual mom stating "I don’t look at the movie and see my dad as that, or myself, or my sisters, but I do see my mom, and it was kind of accidental," adding that he had felt weird directing her due to the similarities.[5] Sissy Spacek was originally attached to play Joanne.[6]


The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2016.[7] In February 2016, Netflix acquired worldwide streaming rights to the film. At the same time, Vertical Entertainment picked up the North American theatrical rights for the film and plans on releasing the film in the fall for a campaign targeted at the 2017 Oscars.[8] The film was released on September 9, 2016.[9]

Critical reception

Other People received positive reviews from critics. It holds an 85% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Other People resists easy melodrama, rewarding viewers with a smart, subtle look at family dynamics with a talented cast and a finely calibrated blend of funny and serious moments."[10] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 68 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

In its review of the film, The Hollywood Reporter stated, "Ably playing the loving son, a comedy writer quietly worrying that his life is falling apart even without having Mom's cancer in the picture, Jesse Plemons delivers on the promise he has shown in so many supporting roles since his Friday Night Lights breakthrough."[4] New York magazine praised Shannon's performance and the supporting performance of Josie Totah, describing his performance as follows: "The child actor is only featured in two of Other People’s scenes — he plays the flamboyant younger brother of Plemons’s best friend — but he makes the goddamn most of them: Totah waltzes into his first scene casually hitting on the far-older Plemons, then spends his second scene in drag, staging an over-the-top, twerk-filled performance for his bemused family."[12]


Molly Shannon won Best Supporting Female at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards while Jesse Plemons was nominated for Best Male Lead; Chris Kelly for Best First Screenplay; and Chris Kelly, Sam Bisbee, Adam Scott, and Naomi Scott for Best First Feature.[13]


  1. "Other People". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  2. Justin Chang. "'Other People' Review: Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons Play Mother and Son - Variety". Variety. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  3. Watkins, Gwyenne (July 8, 2016). "Molly Shannon's Buzzy Sundance Drama 'Other People': Watch Exclusive Trailer". Yahoo.com. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  4. DeFore, John. "'Other People': Sundance Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  5. Erbland, Kate. "Sundance: How 'SNL' Writer Chris Kelly Turned His Personal Pain Into a Festival Opener". Indiewire. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  6. "Jesse Plemons to Play Gay 'SNL' Writer in Real 'SNL' Writer's Directorial Debut (Exclusive)". The Wrap. October 13, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  7. Ramin Setoodeh; Brent Lang. "'Other People' Starring Molly Shannon Brings Sundance to Tears - Variety". Variety. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  8. Setoodeh, Ramin; Lang, Brent (February 24, 2016). "Netflix Buys Molly Shannon Cancer Dramedy 'Other People'". Variety. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  9. Romano, Nick (July 8, 2016). "Other People trailer: Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons struggle with cancer and acceptance". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  10. "Other People (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  11. "Other People". Metacritic. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  12. Buchanan, Kyle. "You Need to Meet the 14-Year-Old Who Won Sundance". Vulture. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  13. "Spirit Award Winners". Retrieved February 26, 2017.

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