David (Jesse Plemons) is having a rough year. He’s a comedy writer pushing 30 whose pilot wasn’t picked up. His boyfriend just dumped him. And now he’s moving home with his parents, to help take care of his mother (Molly Shannon) while she dies of cancer. These are setbacks that are supposed to befall other people, he confides in an old classmate who tells him, “Now you’re other people for other people.” It’s with this dazed adrift quality that David goes through the next several months, struggling to spend as much time with his mother as he can while figuring out a way to get his life back on track.
Writer-director Chris Kelly, veteran of Saturday Night Live and Broad City, brings to Other People a sharp sense of timing, stringing together incidents by turns lightly comic, darkly humorous, and gravely serious. It’s funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking, sometimes turning from one to the other in an instant. David’s aimless frustrations, and the problems of a family facing the impending death of a loved one, anchor every moment with humanity.