David (Jesse Plemons) has returned home to Sacramento to take care of his mother, who is dying of cancer in the new movie Other People. He’s been in New York City for a while now, trying to make it as a comedy writer but finding success is elusive. Couple that with a recent breakup with his boyfriend and he’s feeling a bit on edge, like the world is colluding against him for whatever reason. And returning home isn’t all sunshine and roses since his father still refuses to accept that David is gay.
Joanne (Molly Shannon) is far more understanding and sympathetic and refuses to go down without a fight, or at least a really good laugh. She’s still determined to be there for David and her other children, even as she deals with treatments and remedies that sometimes knock her out. So the story is as much her’s as it is David’s, though his are the eyes we see everything through. He’s the one who has to navigate the minefield of his conservative family, striving to be there for his mom while being judged from all angles. And all that while also dealing with what feels like a never-ending stream of personal setbacks. Let’s see how it’s being sold.
There’s not too much going on with the one poster for the movie, though it sells what looks to be its strongest element, the dynamic between Plemons and Shannon. So they are the only images on the one-sheet, surrounded by pull quotes from critics who have praised it after festival screenings. It’s simple and meant to appeal to the indie film crowd who are likely to be swayed by these kinds of accolades, assuming they haven’t already heard them from following those festival appearances.
The first trailer opens up with Joanne talking about how she wants to be handled after she dies, with strong opinions about cremation and other methods. It’s soon clear that David has returned home from New York City to take care of his mom as she deals with cancer, which she’s handling by bouncing between feeling giddy at having her family around, defiant in the face of death and kind of depressed. We get a look at the rest of her family and how they’re coping as well, and David confides the issues he’s going through with his boyfriend, who drops some harsh truths on him.
It’s a nice trailer that sells the movie as a funny, heartstring-pulling drama. It’s a nice ensemble cast with faces you’ll recognize from other things but it’s clear the core of the movie is Shannon and Plemons, both of whom seem to be turning up the pathos without losing the emotional core of the story. It’s their connection that’s primarily on display here and it’s that which will seemingly drive the movie’s story forward.
Online and Social
There’s every chance I’m missing something but it looks like a Facebook profile is it in terms of the movie’s online presence. On that profile the studio shared pictures, videos and a few links to press stories.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing here I’ve seen, though it’s likely some online ads have been or will be run.
Media and Publicity
The first look photo from the movie showed up just prior to its debut at the Sundance Film Festival. After the movie’s screening there writer/director Kelly talked about the path he and the story took since it is based in part on his own family experiences. It took a month or so after its Sundance premiere but the movie was eventually picked up by Netflix for distribution online, with Vertical Entertainment handling theatrical.
The movie went to more festival accolades at the Nantucket Film Festival.
Shannon talked about how this was just one of the projects recently that kept her busy, what attracted her to the part and more.
Closer to release, director Chris Kelly seems to have been at the forefront of the press push, with interviews like this one where he talked about how the movie is pulled from his own experiences and life and what it was like to assemble such an impressive cast.
The formal campaign is pretty slight, but let’s be honest and admit that part of the marketing is only for the slight bit of additional awareness it might generate. Most of the interest and awareness is going to come from its successful film festival screenings and the press that’s been done around those events. That’s where the accolades for Plemons and in particular Shannon have come from and it’s what’s likely turned the most heads, especially among the arthouse crowd that’s actually going to be able to see the movie before it comes to Netflix.
Sure, I wish there were more of an online presence since that’s how anyone who casually came across the movie would be able to find out more. With no official website and a Facebook page that isn’t easily found via search, any online snooping is likely to end only in frustration as people forget about it and move on to something that’s more readily accessible. The press push makes up for that in some respects, and the trailer is pretty great, but if you want people to find your movie you have to give them the tools to do so.