“You kind of look like a superhero.”
Catherine Hardwicke may not be a director who has consistently delivered strong work, but I tend to enjoy her more personal and female centered films. Many probably know her for her direction in the first Twilight film, which I actually enjoyed quite a bit despite the critical hate. Red Riding Hood I can agree with everyone was a huge failure, but her debut film, Thirteen, still remains one of her best films to date. I found some similarities between that film and Miss You Already, Hardwicke's latest movie. Although Thirteen centered on two young teenagers, it was basically a movie about female characters. In Miss You Already the characters are in their late 30’s but the film also centers on a strong female friendship. It is not every day you get to see a film where the two protagonists are females and both the director and the screenplay writer are also women. The film has a voice of its own and despite being melodramatic at times it does feel authentic. It deserves to be seen.
I know that there will be many comparisons between this film and The Fault in Our Stars because it centers on a character battling with cancer, but this film deals with the subject matter in a much more authentic tone. It is not aimed towards teens by introducing a charismatic character, but it tries to deal with the subject matter in an honest way by showing how cancer affects not only the individual but the family and friends around them. The friendship between Drew Barrymore’s Jess and Toni Collette’s Milly is at center and we get to see how this new struggle alters the course of their own personal family lives. The men playing their husbands (Dominic Cooper and Paddy Considine) are relegated because this is a film centering on female characters, but they each add emotional value to the film. I enjoyed the family dynamics here and was touched by the more emotional moments. I never felt them manipulative because the film has a voice of its own. Hardwicke seems to be in a much more comfortable position when she centers on dramatic stories and stays away from science fiction.
The performances from both Collette and Barrymore are solid and I believe they are the reason why the film works as well as it does. Collette especially gets to shine since she has some of the most difficult and emotional scenes in the movie, but Barrymore knows how to stand her ground and the chemistry between both actresses was solid. Cooper and Considine also get to have their moments although they don’t get much screen time. The cast is great and the film benefits from their charismatic performances. Miss You Already might not be an original or groundbreaking film, but it is a sincere family drama that manages to deliver authentic emotions.