The sobbing and sniffing in the theatre would indicate this emotionally manipulative story about lifelong friends dealing with one of them having cancer hits the mark - but it's a close-run thing.
Directed by Twilight's Catherine Hardwicke, Miss You Already is a small step up from a TV disease-movie-of-the-week, due purely to the forceful performance of Toni Collette as Millie, a successful PR executive with a hip musician husband and young kids who discovers she has breast cancer.
Millie's relationship with best friend Jess (Drew Barrymore) is established in a prologue montage that gives a whirlwind overview of their history, an oncologist's office with Millie being told the lump in her breast is malignant.
For a film about female relationships, little new material is offered. Like Meredith and Cristina from Grey's Anatomy, Millie and Jess are each other's "person", so dedicated to each other that their respective husbands (Dominic Cooper and Paddy Considine) seem neglected and downtrodden.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Hardwicke's approach for the most part lacks sentimentality, and she doesn't pull any punches, with needle close-ups, vomiting, and the excruciating pain of a double mastectomy on show, as well as the emotional toll on everyone involved. It's in the characters as well, with Millie, in particular, making some poor choices and not always coming across as a sympathetic character.
The additional tension is provided by a mandatory friendship crisis, which starts with Millie and Jess engaged in a drunken singalong to REM's Losing my Religion - which lasts for 250km, from London to the Yorkshire Moors. The song may be longer than I remember, but, nevertheless, it's at this point Miss You Already begins to make less and less sense.
It may not sound like it, but Miss You Already attempts to be a dramedy. Millie and Jess talk in a light, jocular manner that offers a few sharp lines and laughs, but for the most part Hardwicke misses her comedy marks. What's left is a mostly laborious affair, topped off with an emotional ending in the style of an overwrought Beaches.
Released during Breast Cancer Month, Miss you Already makes a very good case for being proactive about breast check ups and the benefit of early detection; quite possibly the best thing about it.
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Running Time: 112 mins
Rating: M (Sex scenes and offensive language)
Verdict: Toni Collette does her best to give this predictable weepie an edge.