Film Review: Miss You Already
Remember when Slumdog Millionaire was released? It was advertised as “the feel good hit of the year”, with the smiling protagonists showered in confetti adorned on the sides of buses/billboards. Anyone who has seen the film will tell you that, while ultimately uplifting, it has more than its share of misery. It was a case of the promotional art mis-selling the film. Why do I bring this up? Because the key art which promotes Miss You Already does a similar thing (see above). What does the above picture suggest the film will be like? A Friday night chick-flick perhaps? A jaunty romantic comedy? What it does not prepare you for is something sad, sincere, heartbreaking, darkly comedic and, at times, tough to watch.
Starring Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette, Miss You Already tells the tale of life-long best buddies Jess and Milly. The latter (Collette) has a high-flying job, a rock-star husband and two kids while Jess (Barrymore) is an environmentalist, living with her boyfriend in a houseboat. They remain as close as ever but their relationship is put to the test when Milly learns she has breast cancer, while Jess faces motherhood for the first time.
The first thing to say about the film is that, in spite of its subject-matter, it is not some schmaltzy, manipulative tear-jerker. Don’t get me wrong, you may cry, but at its heart there is real humour and countless laugh-out-loud moments. The characters all act and react in believable ways. Collette and Barrymore seem like they really are best mates. They laugh in the face of adversity, they cry together, they argue in exactly the way that friends argue. Barrymore is – as always – a lovely, engaging screen presence and as for Collette, well, her performance is superb. Her character is complicated and infuriating. We feel desperately sorry for her and we are annoyed by her selfishness all at once. Paddy Considine is as watchable as ever as Jess’ long-suffering, cheerful boyfriend. Meanwhile, Dominic Cooper plays Milly’s husband superbly.
Morwenna Banks’ screenplay is brought to life well by Catherine Hardwicke. The fact that the film is so consistently funny makes it all the more devastating when shit starts to get rougher and rougher. There are some unbearably harrowing scenes, interspersed with much-needed lighter moments.
This isn’t some cliched weepy set to a soundtrack of strings. This is a story which is in equal parts funny, true, tough and sad. Ultimately, Miss You Already is as much a film about friendship and love as it is about cancer.
Own it on Digital HD 22 January. Available on DVD & Blu-ray 17 February.
Review by Bobby Townsend.