Cancer is a cliché. It’s terrible, in real life, but in cinema, it’s a cliché. It’s the go-to slow death disease, that allows a character to ponder life and puts things in perspective. It’s simple. It’s easy.
It’s the drama at the centre of Miss You Already. The world of lifelong best friends Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) is shattered when Milly is diagnosed with cancer. Having shared everything throughout their lives, will cancer finally tear them apart? No, probably not.
There’s nothing all that new about Miss You Already. There are no surprises. Cancer is as slow-acting and convenient as in most cancer dramas. Toni Collette gives a good performance but has given better, and Drew Barrymore gives a bland performance but has been blander. This is strictly a middle of the road affair.
What is surprising, however, is the fact that we the audience never feel a part of their friendship. We’re third-wheeling. In cinema, when a character tells a genuinely funny joke and no one finds them funny, we the audience like them even more because it feels like that joke was just for us. When someone tells a joke that isn’t funny and other characters laugh (you know, to show how great friends they are), as is the case here, we feel excluded.
Of course, the story does become somewhat moving, in a tiredly manipulative way. Collette’s willingness to be seen in the most hideous of lights is commendable, but you cant help but wish it were for a better film.
Directed by the most successful female director of all time, Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Miss You Already is smaltzly, predictable, and stale. It’ll fill the generic needs of some, who use film as a relaxation device, but wont stretch much further.
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