Miss You Already review

Miss You Already opens in New Zealand cinemas this week
Miss You Already opens in New Zealand cinemas this week

If you go on the trailer alone, you'll know at least you'll need to take a medium size box of tissues for Miss You Already.

But it might also be wise to consider your mood and your own personal experiences with cancer before buying your ticket.

Director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight / Thirteen) isn't afraid to keep rolling when the harsh reality of fighting cancer kicks in, both on a physical and emotional level.  But if you are willing, Hardwicke and her talented co-conspirators deliver an unflinchingly real and affecting drama about one woman's battle with terminal cancer.

At the centre of the story are two best friends Jess and Milly, played by Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette. Since they first met as little girls they have been inseparable, sharing all of life's Big Moments - first kisses, first boyfriends, weddings, pregnancies, childbirth.

Milly is the wild one, she's all drama drama drama and gets knocked up early by a rock n roll roadie (Kit - played by Dominic Cooper). As it happens, Kit marries her, and turns out to be a surprisingly good husband.

Jess, meanwhile, is the chalk to Milly's cheese - the sensible one; a Birkenstock-wearing greenie who lives with her lovely man Jago (Paddy Considine) on a houseboat. And while Milly had no worries making babies with Kit, for Jess and Jago, that journey is proving a fraught one.

Their lengthy back-story is told upfront in a somewhat irritating and under-baked montage - but it's an efficient enough way to bring the audience up to speed before the real story takes hold.  When Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer, it's not Kit she tells first, it's Jess.

This is Toni Collette's movie, and she is perfectly cast as the flawed, flamboyant, self-absorbed and spirited Milly. Slowly stripped bare, struggling to cope emotionally with the physical ravages of the disease and the choices she must make to stay alive, Milly's story is an intrinsically feminine one, unafraid to explore all the intimate realities of terminal illness and the affect it has on not just Milly, but those close to her.

Make no mistake, this can be a hard watch at times, and for some, it might just be a little too hard.

These kinds of guaranteed tear-jerkers are often lightly sugar-coated to lessen the blow, the slow pan away from the brutal reality when the going gets tough.  Miss You Already is not one of those films, and I won't be forgetting it anytime soon.

Three-and-a-half stars.

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     Miss You Already:: Director: Catherine Hardwicke :: Starring: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper, Charlotte Hope, Jacqueline Bisset, Paddy Considine, Anjli Mohindra, Honor Kneafsey:: Rating: M - Sex scenes and offensive language:: Running Time: 112 minutes:: Release Date: October 8, 2015

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