By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
'Miss You Already' stumbles over its own good intentions
Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette in Miss You Already. - photo by Josh Terry
MISS YOU ALREADY 2 stars Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominc Cooper, Paddy Considine; PG-13 (thematic content, sexual material and some language); in general release

Miss You Already has some powerful things to say about friendship and motherhood and the pain of debilitating illness. But you can only go so far with a character who strains at the boundaries of likability, and Miss You Alreadys best parts dont add up to a convincing whole.

The story is built around the lifelong friendship of two women. Jess (Drew Barrymore) is an American who moved to London as a child, and is now trying to start a family with her oil rig working husband Jago (Paddy Considine) while working for an environmental group.

Milly (Toni Collette) is a native Londoner, a party girl who wound up marrying her rock 'n' roll roadie boyfriend and having two kids. The daughter of a famous actress (Jacqueline Bisset), Milly took Jess under her wing early on, and the two have been inseparable ever since.

But the joys of friendship and family are rocked when Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer, right around the same time Jess is finally able to get pregnant. Because of the timing, Jess decides to keep her good news a secret, and as Millys condition gets worse, the limits of their friendship are tested.

Some of Miss You Alreadys most powerful moments come as Milly grapples with the effects of her sickness. As she loses her hair to chemotherapy and eventually faces a mastectomy, you feel like her identity is being whittled away one piece at a time.

Its easy to sympathize with such a predicament, and Collette does a stellar job as usual in the role. The trouble is that for all her good points, Milly is a selfish person, and her deterioration leads her to places that are unjustifiable even if they are understandable.

Director Catherine Hardwicke (who also directed the first film in the Twilight series) also leans on style cues that keep the audience at arms length. She wisely uses the quiet moments to send the most poignant messages, but energetic montages and musical interludes often give Miss You Already the vibe of a 20-something party girls duck-face Instagram account brought to life.

All the drama frequently paints Jess into the victims corner, and it is easy to sympathize with her frustrations as her own life takes a regular backseat to her best friends. It adds up to a pretty accurate portrait of a flawed, warts-and-all friendship, but it keeps Miss You Already from achieving the emotional connection it might have made otherwise.

Barrymore is effective as Jess, which is kind of ironic given her history as a Hollywood wild child, and Bisset is a welcome addition in a role that feels like it was designed to be Best Supporting Actress bait, even if there isnt quite enough for her to do.

But even if the execution and the characters are too flawed for their own good, Miss You Already has some important things to say about the ravages of cancer and the trials of womanhood. For some audiences, that may be enough.

"Miss You Already" is rated PG-13 for thematic content, sexual material and some language; running time: 112 minutes.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters