Miss You Already is a Sodden Mess of Emotion
Miss You Already
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Written by: Morwenna Banks
Starring: Toni Collette, Drew Barrymore, Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine, Tyson Ritter, Frances de la Tour, Jacqueline Bisset
Running time 112 minutes
Rated PG-13 for thematic content, sexual material and some language.
Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) are lifelong best friends. Growing up together, they shared almost every major life event from childhood to adulthood, through middle age. Milly became a parent, married a rock and roll roadie, and became impressively successful. Jess settled for a simple life working for an environmental agency, married a good blue-collar man. When Milly is diagnosed with an aggressive, late stage breast cancer, her equally aggressive chemotherapy and eventual double mastectomy wreak havoc on those closest to her. Driving her husband, and best friend away, who now feels unable to share the news of her long fought for pregnancy.
Miss You Already is very nearly a great dark comedy, or a comedic drama, where it misses the mark is that the film fails to provide leading characters that are likeable enough that we care about what happens to them. A film, and a story, such as this lives or dies by the characters on screen, with a story that centers on two friends who appear incompatible and are frequently at odds. One of these friends, Milly, is a vain and selfish narcissist, while Jess has no real discernable personality of her own and simply revolves around her best friend. I spent a good portion of time attempting to understand why Jess continued this unhealthy relationship into adulthood. The incomprehensible relationship, and unlikeable, or lifeless characters are not the only problems with this film, but they are the most prominent. Fortunately, in spite of the problems, the film is not dreadful, it a good film hobbled by the fact that I could not have cared any less about anyone in the film. The biggest saving grace is the well-timed, and well-written humor, and the harsher thematic elements that were handled in a very real manner.
Actor Toni Collette handles the role of Jess extraordinarily, portraying an evolving character with deep flaws. Collette is a remarkable actor, and delivering, even taking chances is not a surprise. What is a surprise is that this incredibly charismatic actor was able to create a character I simply did not like. I am prepared to write that off to personal experience, the character of Jess reminded me of people I have known, that I have no wish to remember. Collette was the shining star of what would otherwise be a bleak and lifeless film.