Miss You Already brings women into focus, both in front of and behind the camera lens. Starring Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette as best friends who have been through it all together, the film directed by Catherine Hardwicke explores the intricacies of female friendships with the kind of soul that will have you sobbing when you exit the theater.
When free-spirited, life-loving Milly (Collette) is diagnosed with breast cancer, Jess (Barrymore) is the first person she tells. But when Jess gets pregnant after years of trying, Milly is one of the last people she tells. Like most friendships, theirs has a delicate balance of selfishness and selflessness.
The balance in the relationship between the more naturally selfish Milly and people-pleasing supportive Jess is called into question when they take a (Milly's idea) spontaneous trip to the Moors. Yep, the Moors of Jane Austen time. Little to Jess' knowledge, they are really there so Milly can visit her secret lover, Ace (Tyson Ritter). (Yes, Tyson Ritter. My inner 13-year-old was squealing with excitement in a scene where his AAR tattoo was on full display. I digress.)
Screenplay writer Morwenna Banks addresses the realities of life with breast cancer in a head-on way. After her devastating double mastectomy, Milly's husband Kit (Dominic Cooper) has a hard time acting normal with his wife. In an intimate, heartbreaking scene, he lovingly is kissing her, but when his hand gets to where her breast once was, he freezes. Her understandably self-conscious feelings about her changed body causes her to leave in tears, while he is left hitting his head saying, "Idiot, idiot." The film goes on to show the toll that cancer has on their relationship, in a way that is really relatable. That is what drives Milly to her affair with Ace.
Once Jess realizes at the Moors that they were only there for Milly to hook-up with her bartender boy toy, she angrily walks through the Moors, and Milly follows. They fight, like real friends fight, and Jess finally tells Milly she is pregnant. When she angrily is leaving, she takes a fall, which causes problems for her pregnancy.
Though in the end, they sort things out, this movie pulls off an accurate mirror of life's complexities in friendships, marriages, life and death, while maintaining a lighthearted tone. The greatest thing about this film, however, is the way that it allows Milly to still be a human despite her cancer. So often films about cancer patients follow a cliche story line, but in this one, just because she is battling a disease, doesn't mean she is flawless or immune from hurting those she loves.
Bring your tissues and your bestie along for this raw yet beautiful film–it's one you shouldn't miss.
Miss You Already premieres in theaters Nov. 6.
Photos via Miss You Already.
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