“People Like Us” Reviews Summary | June 29, 2012

“People Like Us” Reviews Summary | June 29, 2012

“People Like Us” Opens in the U.S today!

We have been talking for a long time already, finally, “People Like Us”, a family drama with Michelle Pfeiffer finally hit the U.S cinemas today at 6.29.2012.

Director Alex Kurtzman, who wrote the story based on his self real life story. A result of mixed reviews have been received for his first time directing but most of it gave a thumb up for Pfeiffer’s performance as Lillian, mother of Chris Pine’s character. Here are some.

  • Pfeiffer is excellent, her demeanor tightening and thawing as the situation demands, and young D’Addario is appealing enough in a conventional good-kid-in-need-of-a-father-figure role. – Justin ChangVariety
  • Banks and Pfeiffer fare the best by focusing on directness and simplicity. A particularly sharp scene between Pfeiffer and Pine, in which they smoke a joint and loosen up their defenses, high up in the Hollywood Hills, stands in stark relief to the rest of the film. – Michael PhillipsChicago Tribune
  • And Pfeiffer, looking beautiful in a way that’s believable for her age, is terrific. Pfeiffer embraces rather than recoils from the steeliness of her character, and her fearlessness makes all the difference. – Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline
  • Pfeiffer and Wilde bring considerable class and craft to roles less glamorous than they often play. Pfeiffer’s big dramatic moments explore issues of life, death, regrets and aging, and her character drops a series of soapy reveals on her son. Even though Pfeiffer doesn’t have a lot of screen time, she makes the most of what she has (and is far better served her than in her recent screen appearances in “New Year’s Eve” and “Dark Shadows”). – Geoff Berkshire, HitFix
  • Looking amazingly beautiful for her age, Michelle Pfeiffer nails the part of Lillian, Sam’s widowed mother, in a few scenes. She also brings out the best in Pine in their scenes together. Mother and son have many things in common: They are shut down from each other and from themselves. In very different ways, they have both retreated from feeling and experiencing the real world. – Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
  • Pfeiffer, playing the grieving widow with her own secrets, does a lot with her few scenes – she’s a presence, holed up in her Laurel Canyon home, painting and drawing, cynical, perceptive. It’s a pleasure watching her in something good. – Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
  • The performances, especially Ms. Banks’s Frankie and Ms. Pfeiffer’s Lillian, partly compensate for the holes in a story whose timing is hard to swallow. Both Frankie and Lillian are casualties of Hollywood rock ’n’ roll life. Frankie moved to Los Angeles in hopes of being the next Joni Mitchell. Lillian met Sam’s father when she was a 17-year-old hatcheck girl at the Troubadour. – Stephen Holden, New York Times
  • One advantage of the overstuffed script is that bit players like Jon Favreau, as Sam’s nasty boss, and Michelle Pfeiffer, as Sam’s mother, Lillian, get enough room to shine. –  Rafer Guzman, Newsday
  •  Pfeiffer gets a confessional scene that has that tempest-on-command quality that big stars are granted when they’re in small parts. – Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail
  • While keeping the secret becomes ever more ludicrous with regard to Frankie and Josh, it works fairly well with Lillian. And Michelle Pfeiffer probably gives her best performance in years. Of course, my appreciation for her work here is no doubt related to the weakness of the material, and Pfeiffer easily lifts the story here above its Hallmark Hall of Fame movie origins. –  JONATHAN W. HICKMAN, DailyFilmFix
  • So much of the film’s two-hour run-time is wasted on the big reveal that better story prospects such as Sam’s work issues, Frankie’s quest for some stability in her life and Lillian adjusting to an extended family she never wanted are only briefly touched upon and ruins the film’s momentum.  Pfeiffer especially is so good in her scenes you’ll wish she had more screen time. – Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files
  •  By comparison, Michelle Pfeiffer  is quite the veteran, and as such, she hasn’t been this good in years. Appearing onscreen with very little make-up and often unkempt hair, Pfeiffer’s lack of vanity serves her imminently well as Sam’s artist mother Lillian, a woman who must live with the tough decisions she had to make in the past in order to keep her family together. Her relationship with Sam, getting to know him all over as an adult after so many years of not being in close contact with him, is handled with a beautifully light touch. – Dustin Putman, DustinPutman.com
  •  There’s less to do, alas, for Michelle Pfeiffer, stuck in a role (Sam’s mother) small enough to make you wonder when she gets to make her big red-eyed speech — the less you wonder, the more surprised you’ll be about the late-stage revelations. – Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News
  • The film is well acted, with Michelle Pfeiffer in particular giving a lovely performance as Sam’s mother Lillian, a former beauty of small town talent crushed by the star power her music producer husband orbits around and her own move to keep shining. – Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
  • Pfeiffer is also fine, even if her character is the modern-day equivalent of the crazy boogie monster in the attic from “Jane Eyre.” – Chris Hewitt, St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • Pfeiffer, too, must work with a character Kurtzman, Orci and co-writer Jody Lambert dump a lot of angst on, wisely defusing it with the same kind of laid-back sarcasm she had 20 years ago in “The Fabulous Baker Boys. – Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
  • Pfeiffer is lovely in the scenes she does have, but she’s underused; why not throw her character into the room with the love-child? Sparks would fly but they wouldn’t be the kind that make you feel queasy. – Mary F. PolsTIME Magazine
  • But the strong cast and Kurtzman’s flair for character humor and relaxed conversation somehow sell the film anyway — particularly during the rambling chats between Pine and his mom (Michelle Pfeiffer). – Mike Russell, Oregonian
  • Michelle Pfeiffer reveals her own mixed emotions about the secrets she’s been concealing for years, too young to forgive and too old to forget what it feels like to live with pain and betrayal.  – Rex ReedNew York Observer
  • Leave it to none other than Michelle Pfeiffer to do so much with a less glamorous role, playing Pine’s resentful mother with grace and beauty despite having just a few scenes. – Scott A. Mantz, Access Hollywood
  • D’Addario is right on the money while Pfeiffer digs into her few scenes with her accustomed professionalism and unparalleled—if underused—talent. Wilde also exhibits a strong screen presence in a largely underwritten girlfriend role. – Pete Hammond, Boxoffice Magazine
  • Limited to playing just angry and distant in the early-going, Pfeiffer ultimately is able to invest her character with poignantly rueful streaks when she shares her inner life with her son. – Todd McCarthyHollywood Reporter
  • Pfeiffer is still in top form with some powerful emotional scenes with Pine where mother and son try to deal with years of estrangement. – Edward DouglasComingSoon.net
  • Similarly, Pfeiffer’s haunting good looks and acting talent add up to a highly believable turn as an aging trophy bride who never felt like she truly belonged with her husband’s peers. – Katherine Monk, Postmedia News
  • All three of the major actors in this movie did great jobs playing each of their characters. Michelle Pfeiffer almost never had her hair brushed, looking like she was always just getting out of bed. The payoff scene near the end of this film was a very nice surprise. – Shawn O’Neill, Deseret News
  • At least in a character piece like this, you can look for the actors to shine. Here, too, the film’s a mixed bag, although it is pleasant to see Michelle Pfeiffer moving her career gracefully along with a non-glam performance. –  Robert Horton, Herald Movie Critic

  • Michelle Pfeiffer takes a supporting role and in her scenes is somehow able to be icy, angry, sad, remorseful, hurt, loving and healing – she’s good. – George Pennacchio, ABC
  • Pfeiffer is simply amazing playing the mother and grieving widow in such a natural way. She looks slightly disheveled, but her inner beauty comes shining through the camera lens. Her maternal instincts in keeping her immediate family together to the exclusion of others is something everyone can identify with. – Keith Cohen, Entertainment Spectrum
  • There must be something about Kurtzman’s directing skills because Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays Sam’s mother, gives her best performance in a decade. – Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, as his mother, reminds of how much her regular presence on the big screen has sorely been missed in recent years. – Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
  • It is a credit to the talents of Pine and Banks that they never get too maudlin. Pfeiffer also adds clarity to the nuances of the story.  Jackie K. Cooper, jackiekcooper.com
  • You might also wish Pfeiffer had a juicier role but this one isn’t too bad. In fact, you probably could make a completely different but no less compelling movie about this story from her point of view. – Kirk Honeycutt, honeycuttshollywood.com


  • JAWS
    June 29, 2012

    The movie was released too early for a Oscar consideration.

  • Alan
    June 30, 2012


    Thanks so much for this compilation of review quotes. They provide insights into Michelle’s continued strategy to get back into the game as well as her remarkable acting chops. She is willing to forgo personal vanity to realistically nail the portrayal of her character. The results of critical reviews provided by Rotten Tomato are discouraging but the quotes that you have collected are gratifying to Pfeiffer fans. Way to go, Bond! I have got to see the movie.

  • June 30, 2012

    Thanks from me too. As always I admire your dedication to Michelle and her pfans.
    I’m a UK based pfan and there’s no release date here either, in fact outside The US only Argentina and Hungary are confirmed so far.
    I may have to wait for the DVD!

  • Alan
    July 1, 2012

    It has long been my impression that Michelle has greater appreciation by fans in countries other than the US than she has had here at home. Classic beauty and great acting are appreciated less in the US than is the “flavor of the month.” The popular actors create undignified turmoil that keeps them in the eyes of the public. This is not Michelle’s sophisticated style. Fans in the UK seem to have an especially strong appreciation for her which in my mind indicates an appreciation for Michelles’s particular charming style.

    With regard to “People Like Us,” Dreamworks and the other production entities seem to have written off the non-US markets. “People” cost only $16 million to produce so it should cover its costs and make a little money in the US. It is regarded as a movie of little interest to foreign movie goers because it reflects the US family culture (this is the type of story to which Michelle gravitates since she places such a high value on family). As a consequence little effort and money has been spent to promote “People” outside of the US. Besides it is not an epic film like “Prometheus” and so many others. “Dark Shadows” which cost $150 million to make made money because of foreign markets. It would have lost money if it depended only on the US. It is a matter of economics that is peculiar to the movie business.

    At least “People” is being shown in over 2000 theaters in the US and its trailers have aired frequently on TV. It has not gone straight to DVD. Michelle has worked hard and has appeared on many talk shows in order to promote it. It is always a pleasure to see her. Also it is always a pleasure to read about her in the foreign press and magazines. Thanks again Bond for your compilation of statements by critics concerning Michelle’s performance in “People.” I know that we can expect great performances from her in future movies.

    • July 1, 2012

      Thanks for your insight Alan. It’s refreshing and rare to come across someone who’s as passionate and articulate as you are.
      Have you written any articles relating to Michelle and her career?

  • John
    July 3, 2012

    Thanks for the compilation Bond, it’s very appreciated!
    Looks like she’s still on top of her game. I follow her career for 28 years and so far I never was dissapointed by her performances.

  • Alan
    July 3, 2012

    Paul and Bond:

    Thank you for the complements. I have not written anything about Michelle except for the entries in Gorgeous Pfeiffer. It wasn’t long ago that I saw “The Fabulous Baker Boys’ again after many years. I have subsequently seen most of her films. I am hooked by her talent, smarts and beauty. Reading articles about her provides insights not only about Michelle, but how the film industry works. I am intrigued watching how Michelle, while keeping her values intact, reestablishes her place in the film industry after a hiatus to do her child rearing. Fascinating stuff. My best,

    • July 4, 2012

      It’s funny you should mention The Fabulous Baker Boys Alan, because I noticed in Bond’s review compilation that Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News claimed that Michelle’s character Lillian possessed the same laid-back sarcasm she displayed 20 years ago in “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”
      High praise indeed!

  • Alan
    July 4, 2012

    I recall a redeeming review of Michelle’s
    “insouciance” in Grease 2 (New York Times if I recall correctly). This aspect of her acting style that sets her apart. Paul, i think that this is part of what the critic describes and was evident early in her career.
    I think of Jeff Bridges and Brando who deliver great performances without apparent effort.

    • July 5, 2012

      Insouciance is a wonderful word and a wonderful attribute, one of many that have merged to form Michelle’s unique acting style.

      I like the fact you bracket her with Jeff and Marlon Brando, Alan.
      Pfeiffer is a very rare talent, who always has her character nailed, regularly displaying a level of technical skill usually associated with Meryl Streep.
      For my money, Pfeiffer makes more of an emotional connection with her characters than any of her contemporaries, a quality that can sometimes elude Streep.

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