Miss You Already is a 2015 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Morwenna Banks, based on Banks' 2013 radio drama Goodbye. The film stars Toni Collette, Drew Barrymore, Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine, Tyson Ritter, Frances de la Tour, and Jacqueline Bisset.
Before starting this movie I would recommend consciously putting a friend of yours in mind. I'm not talking about just any friend, but I'm talking about the one that seems so little like you in comparison and knows how to push all I love your little buttons.
For me that is a person named Mary (she goes by Katie, but I’m the only person that calls her by her “real” name). I met her approximately 12 years ago, and due to the nature of this film I predict I will be incorporating little pieces of her into this review even if done so unconsciously.
The casting of Colette and Barrymore as these characters that are polar opposites is remarkably on point. Colette is the master of harnessing a silent wrath; the frustration amongst and within her is palpable through the use of facial expressions that speak for themselves. Alternatively, Barrymore shines as her typical giddy self and naturally sprinkles optimism throughout scenes where this charm could easily be perceived as contrived or emotionally manipulating. Underneath this idealistic attitude, however, is a simmering test-tube of anger that makes itself known in easily-stomached proportions.
My largest criticism (if I can count this as one) is the pace and the manner in which certain points of conflict are integrated in this particular story; they are reminiscent of the way the ball in question moves during a high-stakes match of tennis. There is an expected amount of intensity garnished to each character's separate struggles (cancer and infertility) but they very rarely - if at all - overlap and instead “take turns” being the center of attention. Moreover, It's implied (accidentally, I think) that Milly doesn’t know as much about how Jess’ struggles despite the fact this would be expected. The result of this is that ‘Miss You Already’ easily feels like it’s 20 or 30 minutes longer than is truly warranted, but. . . . . .
. . . .in hindsight, this makes perfect sense when the overarching context of these separate obstacles are taken into consideration. Cancer (Milly’s primary struggle) isn't just a debilitating condition: it often becomes imposed as a very public one. It is next to impossible to “keep under wraps” and is easily accepted as carrying more weight given the mortality rates associated with it. Furthermore, Banks has stated that the screenwriting of this film was inspired by her real life experiences and is reflected in the sensitivity used to deliver this powerful (but fragile) message to audience members that have similar stories to tell related to this subject matter. It only follows that between the laughter and smiles that clichés aren’t used to chug this train of treachery along, and that’s a brand of humble pie I don’t mind helping myself to a slice of.
In reference to what I said earlier I can tell you from personal experience that the interactions Milly(Colette) and Jess(Barrymore) have with one another are realistic as they come. To put it very shortly I would say that Mary is the Milly of our relationship. She gives me some of the worst advice and sometimes makes even worse decisions; She's a snowglobe of chaos and maddening construction. These may not seem like compliments, But there are so many parts in ‘Miss You Already’ that I could relate to on a personal level. Those moments they would make a snide remark and flip each other off? I felt that. When Jess exclaims: “𝑾𝒉𝒚 𝒅𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒌 𝒎𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒕?”? I really felt that
It is far too easy to be patronizing of these films and write them off as fishing with Oscar bait, but it’s important to recognize ‘Miss You Already’ as not just being a story about cancer and the people it robs from us long before we are ready to say goodbye. . . .
I’ve thought quite often about how I would describe Mary during a eulogy (I’m sorry, is that admission a bit on the grim side?). I know it’s normal to use complimentary phrases about friends and loved ones, but I imagine quite often what the reaction would be if my honesty were to slip out. . .
Sure. Mary is all things an unconditional avenue of support should be: Kind, funny, and sometimes a little overzealous.
But me? I’ve seen all of those ugly sides of her that might make others run for the hills. The impulsivity. The impatience. The ferocity. The momentarily crude. I could go on and on. . .
And the thing is? Mary is the farthest from being a perfect individual. I’ve never once thought that I love her “in spite” of her flaws, but in many ways I love her because of these flaws.
‘Miss You Already’ understands the pathological nature of relationships like the one I have with Mary. More than that, it embraces the parts of friendships that are often woven with split hairs and tightly closed fists. It goes the extra mile in being a story about acceptance - and more importantly, the difference this can make when one is having trouble accepting their own worst enemy: themselves. The poignant ruptures of vulnerability aren’t just an appreciated reminder to cherish the moments we have left with our loved ones: it’s an absolutely essential one.
I still have time left with Mary, and my heart aches for those that can’t say the same.
So for now I will gladly accept the bombardment of strange messages that require extra content. The slue of selfies that one of us will inevitably look terrible in. The snot-nosed tears. The obnoxious laughing. All of the opportunities I have to visit her at home and have her 3 year old son excitedly greet me by saying:
“Are you here to see me Miss Christina?”
Sure I am, kid.
Sure I am.