It’s become something of a testament to terminal disease-themed movies that they’ve drawn in crowds the last couple of years. From The Fault in Our Stars to Catherine Hardwicke’s latest film, Miss You Already, there’s something about these kinds of films that will latch onto you, even when there’s a certainty that the you’ll walk out of theaters with red eyes and tissues in tow.
Milly (Toni Collette) and her best friend Jess (Toni Collette) have always done and been through everything together. Milly, the far more wild and off-the-rails of the two, is quick to lose her virginity at a rock concert and then later unexpectedly becomes pregnant and settles down with an almost as equally wild rock musician Kit (Dominic Cooper). Hardwicke at least shies away from making Cooper’s character the stereotypical man who finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and makes a run for it. Instead, he sticks around, settles down and the pair have two children.
Meanwhile Jess, the far more stable and level-headed friend, falls in love with an oil rig worker named Jago (Paddy Considine) who desperately wants to start a family. Jess wants to as well, but as soon as she hears Milly’s been diagnosed with cancer, she is quick to put everything on hold in order to help care for her best friend. The relationship between the two is solid and filled with great chemistry and it’s fun to see the two try and do crazy things (a visit to the Moors from Wuthering Heights one of them) even when character depth isn’t the strength that holds the film together.
Separately, the characters don’t hold up because they’re more one-dimensional–Milly comes off as extremely shallow and selfish, while Jess’s brief struggle with infertility is glossed over. However, when they’re together they make up for these holes in character depth and keep the film from leaning toward being too shallow, especially as Milly’s condition causes everyone to sober up a bit more. While there’s a lot of sadness in the film, it is alleviated with some humor that will make you chuckle on occasion and serves to keep the film from being far too dramatic.
Director Catherine Harewick (Twilight, Thirteen) certainly doesn’t stray from making the cancer aspect of the film less real than it ought to be (except for a few creative leeway for emotional purposes). Everything from the chemotherapy, to the the vomit, loss of hair, and loss of breasts after a double mastectomy is shown and for some it may be a hard watch, but is commendable to not try and sugar coat these kinds of things, most especially since the disease serves as the film’s main point of conflict. Ultimately, Miss You Already has a talented cast that is able to sustain the general momentum and tone of the film. Spoiler alert: you may want to make sure you bring tissues.
Miss You Already is in theaters November 6.