Film, In Review: Miss You Already

We exist with someone else in mind.

Someone meant to share our world, our darkest fears, our terrible weaknesses, and our greatest triumphs before we even know it. For Jess (Drew Barrymore), that is Milly (Toni Collette) and for Milly, that’s Jess. They, like any pair of best friends, are inseparable. From tiny tots to grown women, Milly and Jess have never left each other’s side. They’ve never had a reason to, until now. “Miss You Already” tells the story of two friends unexpectedly faced with a terrible fate: one is diagnosed with a malignant tumour and the other has to live knowing that at any moment, her partner in crime may not wake up.

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Drew Barrymore (Jess) and Toni Collette (Milly) in “Miss You Already”

A belly of laughter was all it took to forge an inescapable bond between two primary school girls destined to be each other’s saving grace in the years to come. Opposites attract after all, with Milly’s domineering but eccentric personality and Jess’ quiet but rational demeanor; they have survived everything. Years of titillating boyfriends and misadventures have led to inexplicable memories. Their lives drift in slightly different directions over time but remaining, nonetheless, within reach.

Toni Collette (Milly) in "Miss You Already"

Toni Collette (Milly) in “Miss You Already”

Milly works tirelessly as a PR representative at a renowned London firm while, Jess, an avid environmentalist, determines to save the planet one plant at a time. Milly married her groupie prince charming, Kit (Dominic Cooper), with whom she now has two children. Jago (Paddy Considine) found Jess, rather clumsily, but they’ve been complete ever since; except for one missing piece: a child. They have been trying for years, in vitro being their last hope but their faith is dwindling. Milly has the perfect life or so she thought until she takes a trip to the hospital to discover she now has breast cancer. A few treatments later, Jess is elated – she’s pregnant, but Milly is devastated – she’s getting worse. Milly doesn’t have much time left. Will Jess be able to cope with the loss of one life and the birth of another?

In “Miss You Already”, directed by Catherine Hardwick and written by Morwenna Banks, Toni Collette graces cinema screens as Milly. Jess, the Robin to Milly’s Batman, is portrayed by the ever loyal Drew Barrymore. The film tells a familiar story, one we’ve heard many times before.

“In Canada, breast cancer is relative to at least one in eight women and there’s never just one life left paralyzed in its wake.”

Mortified by death, Milly rejects the pity involuntarily offered by strangers, her friends, and her overbearing mother Miranda (Jacqueline Bisset). Instead, focuses her energies on getting better and going out, even if that means getting piss drunk at a pub in Central London. Jess meanwhile, struggles to keep a brave face for Milly even though she knows that she is spiraling out of control because their lives are forever changing.

The cinematography is static but colourful, especially during Milly’s spontaneous adventures. The panorama of London’s countryside is visually the most invigorating. Nonetheless, the beats within the film, the scenes where dialogue is significantly absent, those are the most poignant moments of “Miss You Already”.

Collette is magnificent at speaking without words but her comedic timing is just as brilliant. The film sustains a balancing act between comedy and drama. It never leaves us disheartened for too long, and much like life, it finds the light within the dark in our desperate need to survive.

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