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Review: Miss You Already (Ignore the title – watch the film)

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Beautiful cute furry kittens. Well I can hardly start this review with the word CANCER or you’ll never read on. But Miss You Already is a film full of cancer and painfully low on kittens. Nevertheless it is very good. The trailer and saccharine name may write this off as a weightless chick flick, when Miss You Already is really a modern tragicomedy.

It is the funny script rendered by an expert filmmaker which allows it to triumph over its small budget.

Miss You Already is also a quintessentially English film, full of wry observations even though it stars an Aussie, a Yank and an Irishman (and English Dominic Cooper).

Drew Barrymore is Jess, a put upon Eco-warrior trying to avoid stepping into the same spotlight that best friend Milly (Toni Collette) basks in. Milly and Jess have known each other since childhood and are now happily married, Milly to rocker Kit (Cooper) with two kids, and Jess to Jago (Paddy Considine), a perfect relationship soured by fertility problems. When Milly is struck by cancer the ramifications of the disease ripple across all of the relationships.

Miss You Already is devoted to realistically depicting the affects of cancer, and at times it feels like a documentary. Without giving away the plot, Milly’s diagnosis only heightens her craziness. Collette never overplays the cancer, and she obviously revels in playing conceited and vain. Whereas Jess is the straight-man (casting against type for Barrymore), who allows her best friend to drive her across the country (and around the bend). And yet Barrymore’s subtle delivery is as impressive as Collette’s.

Cooper and Considine are given more to work with than the usual (female) partners in this type of companionship story, and that’s testament to Morwenna Banks‘ well-rounded script. Kit and Jago are full of comic timing and pathos, although the child stars often steal their thunder. There are also bit parts from Frances de la Tourand Jacqueline Bisset (ask your grandma) and I really enjoyed the pace. Catherine Hardwicke has lent her expertise to another genre. Here her fluttering imagery and close-up camera perfectly suits the story, without the need to wring out emotion from the sadder moments.

It took a while for the film to secure funding, with Cancer being a tricky subject to negotiate on screen, but I may have dabbed my eyes at the human inability to deal with mortality.

Miss You Already is essentially a rom-com where the two leads are heterosexual females. A buddy movie for girls without guns; a fight against a faceless enemy with humour and love. I’ll happily trade my kittens for its excess of laughter.

Miss You Already is in UK cinemas from 25th September 2015.

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