"The Oranges" is a refreshing blend of quirky indie and black comedy and, best of all, it’s set in New Jersey. It features indie heavyweights Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt and television stars Hugh Laurie ("House"), Leighton Meester ("Gossip Girl") and Alia Shawkat ("Arrested Development"). It’s unique in that it can involve such emotional subject matter in such an authentic, sometimes dark, but ultimately upbeat way.
Two families, the Wallings and Ostroffs, are best friends. When Nina Ostroff (Meester) comes to town and falls for David Walling (Laurie), his family patriarch and her father’s best friend, both families go through monumental life changes. It forces unexpressed emotions, unrealized dreams and issues to bubble to the surface.
Laurie and Meester are able to sell a May-December relationship without any pretense of perversion or gold-digging. Allison Janney shines as a brash yet meddling mother. The only underwhelming performance is the generally subdued Keener as a doting housewife.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo has copious versions of the film. It also includes digital versions available via online download and a version for portable media players on the DVD copy. There are two featurettes that really just include super-short interview segments. "Opening Doors: Inside The Oranges" and "Juicy Secrets: Behind the Scenes of The Oranges" are nearly indistinguishable. They feature interviews with the actors, except the latter is significantly shorter and is the only one that includes Shawkat who is a major part of the film.
"The Oranges" is definitely a must-see film. It’s unlike so many films because it’s a perfect storm of comedy, drama, indie film and commentary on our time. It has its finger on the pulse of real relationships and issues going on today.