Miss You Already (2015)

missyoualready_2015_poster
Miss You Already (2015)
  • Time: 112 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
  • Director: Catherine Hardwicke
  • Cast: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper

Storyline:

Milly and Jess have been best friends forever. They’ve shared everything since they were kids – secrets, clothes, laughs, substances, boyfriends… now they are trying to be grown-ups. Milly has a high-flying job and lives in a beautiful townhouse with husband Kit and their two kids. Jess is a town planner and she and her boyfriend Jago live on a bohemian houseboat on a London canal. Their friendship is as rock solid as ever. That is until Jess struggles to have a much longed-for baby and Milly finds out she has breast cancer. How do you share that?

2 reviews

  • Miss You Already can be a difficult watch, and not always for its intended reasons. The film has all the best intentions, not to mention the always winning presences of Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette, but its pedestrian narrative and inability to mesh its comedic and dramatic elements render it an underwhelming and generic tearjerker.

    Jess (Barrymore) and Milly (Collette) have been inseparable since they first met each other in a London grade school. (Though the child actress who plays Jess is unmistakably British, Barrymore exerts no effort in masking her American accent; it’s a wise, though slightly distracting, move.) They experience all the important milestones together – first kisses, first sexual encounters, etc. – they Milly tends to pip Jess to the post on most things. She’s the first to become a wife – to roadie turned family man Kit (Dominic Cooper) – and a mother to two adorable moppets. Jess hasn’t done too badly for herself – she’s married to oil-rig worker Jago (Paddy Considine), who’s away most of the time but is loving and caring in the few instances he’s seen at home. Jess and Jago have yet to start a family the natural way and have turned to IVF treatments to help them conceive. The opening moments are choked with tons of backstory, and lots of laughter and happiness.

    And then come the tears. Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer, and the bulk of the film deals with her treatment and the havoc her disease wreaks on her marriage and friendship. Jess withholds the news of her pregnancy, not wanting to hurt her friend with her good news whilst Milly’s life is falling apart. Milly’s mother, TV star Miranda (Jacqueline Bisset), does what she can to show support but she always seems to make the situation worse, though Milly recognises that her mother is trying the best she can. Kit, meanwhile, further erodes Milly’s self-esteem when he loses his desire for her after she undergoes a double mastectomy.

    Though Miss You Already attempts to distinguish itself by putting a lighthearted spin on unrelentingly grim material, it is actually more effective when director Catherine Hardwicke’s toughmindedness overcomes Morwenna Banks’ maudlin and frequently shameless script. Scenes of a needle inserted in Milly’s veins or the results of her double mastectomy are unsparing, and no scene may be more moving than Milly, Jess and Miranda’s visit to a wigmaker’s shop. Frances de la Tour as the wigmaker does so much with so little. The way her hands cradle and comfort Milly’s head (and her heart) is palpably affecting. Indeed, de la Tour and Bisset are the most powerful performers in the film, their subtlety and economic reliance on melodrama lending a depth otherwise lacking.

    The film’s final half hour is especially contrived with Jago attending his child’s birth via video chat, but this is but another in a series of inane and overly familiar moments (a road trip to the North York moors, the ladies dancing to R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”) that weigh down the film. The believable rapport between Barrymore and Collette almost makes these missteps forgivable, but it’s difficult to overlook the fact that Jess and Milly never become fully multi-dimensional characters.

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  • “How could the tumor have gotten so big? It’s aggressive, like you. Jesus. Well, is it contained? In my body, yes. You should have gone back sooner. Yeah, thanks. Hadn’t figured that out. ”

    I’m not really a fan of tragicomic films with a terminal illness as a main topic. And yet I’m always impressed after accidentally watching such a movie. That was the case with “Philadelphia”, starring the overwhelming Tom Hanks who was diagnosed with AIDS. In “Still Alice” Julianne Moore starred as the with Alzheimer stricken Alice. And not so long ago, I praised “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”. Also “Miss you already” kept me captivated. Especially by the stunning interaction between the two protagonists Jess (Drew Barrymore) and Milly (Toni Collette). Two best friends who shared every milestone in their life with each other. An inseparable duo. They know each other thoroughly. Both their negative and their positive sides. And they succeeded as actresses to give me that feeling that they really knew each other since their childhood. A bond they created over the years whereby they intuitively know how the other feels, what she thinks and how she’ll react. That’s why there’s this liberty to respond humorously to dramatic moments.

    For me this was the main theme of this dramatic comedy. Even though tragedy hit Milly in a profound and poignant way, it’s that undestroyable friendship that emerges every time. The two inseparable friends with each their own personal problems. Milly suffers from something she would be better off without. Jess and her husband are craving for something else. Milly wants to be cured from cancer. Jess has a desire to have children. Of course it’s not so obvious to resolve both problems quickly. I was amazed about the fact that both ladies had a problem telling each other about these major events, although they are so close friends and shared everything with each other. And still do. Weird.

    Obviously this film will be regarded as a typical chick flick, with lots of unconstrained sniveling and sobbing. The themes are also women-related : giving birth (by the way, that scene was grossly exaggerated), best girlfriends for life, breast cancer, a disturbed positive self-image with the usual sexual problems after wards. It also could have been the opposite, in my opinion. In such a way that the male portion of the world could relate to it. Two male protagonists and real “buddies for life”. One of them has testicular cancer and the other one has spermatozoa of poor quality. Same concept. But with less giggles.

    The only remark you could have about this film is that the obvious clich├ęs, associated with these emotional issues, aren’t avoided very well as in “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”. The two protagonists were sublime, although for me Barrymore will always be that little girl who played along with “E.T.”. Perhaps both husbands Jago (Paddy Considine) and Kit (Dominic Cooper) played a minor role, but nonetheless an important one. Especially Considine was brilliant with that sarcastic, dry humor he used sometimes. I never imagined that seeing how someone vomits in a salad bowl, because of chemotherapy, would be sinister and comical at the same time. “Miss you already” isn’t exactly a light-hearted film and definitely isn’t suitable as entertainment to kill (sorry) a Sunday afternoon, but it still made an overwhelming impression on me. And although I thought I knew how it would end, it still was different than I expected. Women! Always against the grain …

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