Film Review: "Miss You Already" (2015)
There's a scene about midway through Miss You Already in which the best friends played by Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore dance to "Losing My Religion" in the middle of the night, in the rain, in the Yorkshire Moors. In just about any other movie, the moment would feel contrived. But perhaps it's the chemistry between the actors, or perhaps its director Catherine Hardwicke's stylish visuals, but the scene works surprisingly well at portraying a bonding moment between two lifelong friends, despite its gratuitous construction. This is what is odd about Miss You Already; what should be overly formulaic, isn't.
The melodrama, with a script from Morwenna Banks, picks up when Barrymore's Jess gets pregnant and Colette's Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer. Make no mistake: Miss You Already is a "cancer movie," designed to make the audience cry. While there are several drifts into TV-movie territory, Banks' script wisely does not make Milly into a heroic victim. She is selfish, flawed, human. Collette gives a first-rate performance as Milly's
confidence deteriorates with the progression of her disease. Barrymore is endlessly charming in a slightly undercooked role as the sensible Jess. She also performs a vital function, as the film's main source of comedy in a film mostly about cancer. The actresses have great chemistry with each other, and it is entirely believable that these characters have been friends for 30 years based solely on the way Barrymore beams every time Collette makes a crack.
Dominic Cooper and Paddy Considine are strong as the women's husbands, and Jacqueline Bisset is memorably featured as Milly's actress mother. Hardwicke works through the maudlin clichés with a fast paced approach and breezy soundtrack. For a film as sentimental as this, the authenticity to which friendship, specifically female friendship, is portrayed is a surprise, and a welcome one at that.
Opened: November 6, 2015