Miss You Already is a tale about lifelong friends whose friendship is challenged, not by a man or some other trivial nonsense, but by aggressive breast cancer.
Director Catherine Hardwicke’s composition has a poetic grace that sways through emotional scenes to heighten the feelings of the characters, while pairing that with a weird kind of rom com glamour. The beautiful London locations including a gorgeous houseboat on the Thames, the multi-story apartment surrounded by cobblestones and the sheer glass office spaces feel the vaseline on the lens of the film. Hardwick wants to build the dream lives of her central duo only to make these once hallow spaces, hollow in light of the potentially terminal disease. The lead male characters; Dominic Cooper’s Kit (Milly’s husband) and Paddy Considine’s Jago (Jess’ husband) are ultimately secondary to this ‘ho’s before bro’s’ film; their roles revert to reflecting what their partner’s are going through in this ordeal.
The longer that you’re with best friends Milly and Jess as symptoms of death and the cruel de-feminisation become a reality of cancer treatment; the harder it hurts. Hardwicke doesn’t pull any punches in the portrayal of an all too common experience; taking the audience and her players through the post-op ordeals of a mastectomy and the slow poisoning of chemotherapy. Writer Morwenna Banks and Hardwicke behind the lens make this a film that was operating at different notes for the women in the audience that this reviewer found himself apart of. It felt like at times there were beats in the film that drew louder laughs and even heftier sobs from the ladies projecting themselves into this ordeal than I did as a male casual observer so-to-speak. The significance of hair loss for example and the gesture of finding a wig that replicated her former bombshell locks cut right to the heart of those who’ve directly and indirectly touched the unforgiving bitch cancer.
Toni Collette is absolutely wonderful as the lead character Milly. From a PR powerhouse, as beautiful as she is capable, she is battered and ground into a skeletal shadow of herself. It’s an amazing physical performance from Collette, one that’s as riveting in its self-destruction as it is in transformative physical mutilation. Drew Barrymore strangely feels more like she’s tapping into the innocence and sweetness of Gertie in E.T for Milly’s BFF Jess than her grunge outsider roles that litter her filmography. She’s both Milly’s greatest accomplice and the rock that she needs when she flies off of the handle. The highlights of their performances come when Jess goes head to head with Milly’s narcissistic nihilism as she starts to be defined by the disease’s effects.
Miss You Already is about facing the mortality of your great love; a life long best friend. Hardwicke, Banks and leading ladies Collette and Barrymore do a great job of navigating the mirth and devastation.
Blake Howard – follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Written by: Morwenna Banks
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine, Tyson Ritter, Jacqueline Bisset
Drew Barrymore … Jess
Toni Collette … Milly
Dominic Cooper … Kit
Paddy Considine … Jago