Synopsis: The friendship between two life-long girlfriends is put to the test when one starts a family and the other falls ill.
“You’re a cancer bully!” says Drew Barrymore’s character to her ailing best friend in “Miss You Already”. The best friend being Milly (Toni Collette), whose dealing with cancer.
It’s very likely that the person reading this right now, has or knows someone that has been diagnosed with this horrific disease. The mention of cancer is bound to strike fear in anyone, so how do the filmmakers of this movie deal with this depressing issue? Add a lot of humor.
Jess (Drew Barrymore) is an American living in England since her childhood, it’s where she meets her lifelong friend Milly. They experience the ups-and-downs of life together, get married, Milly ends up having two kids. Their friendship is put through the ultimate test when Milly gets diagnosed with breast cancer.
Director Catherine Hardwicke doesn’t shy away from the elephant in the room–cancer, she brings it to the forefront. The difficult to watch scenes of Millie getting the thick needles poked in her hand veins. The hospital visits she makes for her chemo treatment are in-your-face. The stages of the process are depicted with a sense of realism, it’s hard to not feel sorrow and pain for any cancer patient. The sense of loss appears to be when Millie struggles to accept that she is about to have her head shaved and be restricted to a wig.
Spoiler Alert: When Milly is faced with the need of a mastectomy, it’s like a death to her identity as a woman. The realization that the loss of her breast is as bad as the potential loss of life. It’s chilling and depressing to watch a person go through such painful trials. These aren’t even all the moments that make you reach for a Kleenex, the interactions with friends and family are also just as heartwarming as they are gut wrenching.
Thankfully the movie isn’t 112 minutes of depressing cancer patient depiction. The movie is heavily buffered with humor. The relationship between the main characters is special. They know each others secrets that often date back to drunken mistakes as young adults. Jess is there for her at all times, as if she was attached to Milly’s hip. The snappy sarcasm and wit between them borderlines excessive. The movie tries to mask the subject of cancer, and it pushes it’s limit. It’s refreshing to see the characters make light of the disease, but it sort of comes across as insensitive and offensive.
Barrymore and Collette have fantastic chemistry on-screen. They are set-up as polar opposites look wise, but can easily finish each others sentences due to their genuine connection. The husbands are a viable side act, and peek into scenes on and off. Dominic Cooper plays Milly’s husband, and he’s the perfect definition of a husband, loyal, caring, and affectionate. Paddy Considine plays Barrymore’s husband and he’s a bit more of a selfish goof that just wants to have a baby with Jess. Milly’s mother Miranda (Jacqueline Bisset) plays a washed up actress who is more a caricature than someone Milly can lean on. All that comes out of her mouth are sexual innuendoes and tales from her glory days. This character is very forced upon the movie to provide some sort of sideshow comedy act that feels out of place in any part of the movie.
While the Miranda is completely misplaced in the movie, the placing of the R.E.M song “Losing My Religion” that accompanies one of the more key scenes. The movie has a bit of an old-school 80-early 90’s feel to it, using R.E.M. certainly adds to that feeling. It’s just a buddy film with a somber undertone, with humor that distracts the sad mood.
“Miss You Already” is a relatable film. There is something really calming about knowing that you have someone by your side through the good and even the bad times. Cancer can take away your physical attributes and appearance, but it can’t destroy your inner spirt. This film attempts to show that human connection can ease the pain and suffering. Bring the tissues, but don’t feel bad for laughing and smiling, it’s what the film asks for.
Runtime: 112 minutes
Release Date: November 6, 2015.
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Cinematography - 7.5/107.5/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 7.5/107.5/10
- Setting/Theme - 7/107/10
- Buyability - 7/107/10
- Recyclability - 7/107/10