Miss You Already (M)

Starring Toni Colette, Drew Barrymore

It is a rare thing to have a friendship that lasts a lifetime in this social networking era. Miss You Already is the story of Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) who have managed to maintain their camaraderie throughout the highs and lows of their lives. Throughout the years, Jess admits that every picture that she has of herself includes Milly. As they have grown-up, Milly has gone on to be a successful public relations manager with her husband, Kit (Dominic Cooper).

Jess lives with her boyfriend, Jago (Paddy Considine), on a houseboat on a London canal and they enjoy their Birkenstock-wearing lifestyle. Even though they have gone down different paths in life, their devotion to one another is the one constant in their lives. Their long-suffering bond is put to the test when Milly finds out she has breast cancer and Jess attempts to have her first baby. How will their friendship hold up under the pressure of these trying circumstances?

As a director, Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) provides a glimpse into the unique bond that occurs between women. Through a hand-held camera style, she rises to the challenge of portraying a friendship that remains rock steady through all of life’s ups and downs. The camera work allows for a very personal feel to their journey together.

Throughout the horrific ordeal of breast cancer, Hardwicke manages to keep the focus on the ties that bind these forever friends. The realism of this story gives the attitude that life goes on despite the situations faced by the characters in the film. She captures the emotional turmoil of the medical dramas of these women and the impact that it has on all of the people in their relational orbit. Her direction succeeds in communicating the necessity of friendship and how women need a close friend through life’s experiences.

The direction style works for the film, but the connection with the lead characters is where Hardwicke falters in the delivery of Miss You Already. The direction exposes a ‘warts and all’ portrayal of both women. By taking this route with the storytelling, the Milly character comes off as unappealing and overly selfish which makes it difficult to garner any sympathy for her.

Conversely, Barrymore is convincing as the typical doormat friend, but does not seem to expand beyond many of the other roles she has played in past films. This film should have developed a certain amount of sympathy for the central characters, but it did not produce this emotional release. In trying to communicate a beautiful story of a friendship between women, it turns into a depressing and occasionally hopeless story.

Towards the end of the film, Milly states that she hopes that there is a heaven. This dialogue leads to a muddled and sad conclusion, but it is a question worth considering. Death is introduced in the film and does come into the lives of every man and woman.

Fortunately, God does not leave us without an actual answer to this question of the existence of heaven. Life after death is real and through the message of the Bible, regardless of what this life provides, there is a heaven and a hope in the life that comes after this life.

What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
  1. What does the Bible say about friendships? (Proverbs 18:24, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
  2. What can we do when trials coming our lives? (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, James 1:12)
  3. Where can true hope be found? (Psalm 39:7, Romans 12:12)

Russell Matthews

Russell loves film and enjoys engaging in discussions about the latest cinema offerings and then connecting this with the Gospel. He has worked for City Bible Forum for over 10 years, is a reviewer for Insights Magazine and Entertainment Fuse and has a blog called Russelling Reviews. He moderates events for Reel Dialogue which connect the film industry with the general public.