Are they really good friends?
The year was 2008. Hot on the heels of a promising start to her directorial career (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown), Catherine Hardwicke launched the franchise juggernaut that was the Twilight Saga onto the movie world.
That inexplicably popular mess may have filled the studio’s coffers, but heralded a severe nosedive in Hardwicke’s career, culminating in the risible Red Riding Hood and Plush.
The Texan hops onto the comeback trail with a “dramedy” starring two safe pairs of hands. That’s not bad ... not bad at all but just not as good as the recent similarly-themed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
Drew Barrymore ( Jess) and Toni Collette (Milly) play long-term friends whose close bond is put to the test when Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer and Jess plans to start a family.
As reliable as Barrymore and Collette are, they create Miss You Already’s biggest problem: they just don’t convince as friends to the end.
Individually, their performances are good. As you would expect, Collette is given more meaty material to work with and though Milly is stricken by illness, the former Sixth Sense star never allows her character to get bogged down in sentimentality.
Milly is a flawed human being who doesn’t demand your pity, even referred to at one point as a “cancer bully”.
This allows Barrymore to come across as a more sympathetic figure as Jess tries her best to support Milly without pandering to her predicament.
Talented Brits Dominic Cooper (Kit) and Paddy Considine ( Jago) are more than just window dressing as the two women’s partners who often get caught up in the impending storm.
Englishwoman Morwenna Banks makes the leap from television writing (The Announcement, Playhouse Presents) to pen her first big screen effort and her cinematic inexperience shows as her screenplay ventures into TV weepie of the week territory on more than one occasion.
But she deserves credit for not always taking the obvious route to the end of Jess and Milly’s journeys – and peppering the film with comedic scenes to ensure it’s not all doom and gloom.
The highlight is the lead pair’s nostalgic trip to the Yorkshire Moors that’s an example of dramedy at its very best, punctuated by an excellent choice of song on the soundtrack.
You’ll dive into your packet of hankies come the climax but, like the aforementioned Me and Earl..., it’s handled well in more tender than syrupy fashion.
At a time when gender equality is a hot topic in Hollywood, it’s refreshing to see a film that is headlined, directed and written by women, and the quartet do some decent work.
It’s just a shame about the wonky central relationship and story missteps.
Friendly banter Collette and Barrymore have fun