Give it a miss already
I’ve skipped the gym recently due to personal reasons but I went the other day expecting to pick up where I left off. It was only 5 minutes into my run and my thighs feel like they’ve been stabbed with needles, I’m sweating like a nun in a whore-house and my lungs feel like they are lined with bricks.
Expectation is a bitch sometimes.
That’s my main problem with this film is that I was expecting to see a drama about friends and family ripped apart by cancer and what I got instead was a standard chick flick about 2 friends, one of whom happens to have cancer.
Half of the story is actually about Jess (Drew Barrymore) trying to have a baby. Her husband Jago (Paddy Considine) goes to work on an oil rig to pay for IVF and after it’s successful Jess tries to hide this fact from her bestie Millie (Toni Collette) so as not to overshadow her cancer.
We never see Jess tired, we never see Jess miss work, we never see Jess give up any of her life except for a short bit of dialogue stating they put off making a baby for a few months. In other words, according to this film, it really doesn’t seem that difficult to deal with your friend dying.
Millie on the other hand obviously suffers more hardships but we still see her trying to go to work and we rarely, if ever, see her drained or physically sick through the chemo. Even when her hair falls out it’s made into something fun by trying on wigs. In fact the second greatest hardship she seems to face is that she can’t partake in her rock and roll lifestyle or be the free spirit she used to be.
The personal reasons why I dodged the gym recently was because of the death of a close friend. It was a death that affected hundreds of people because of the nature of their kind and selfless personality. It was a great loss.
So to see an underlying selfishness to Millie’s character that drives an egotistical and vain desire to be the centre of attention made it really hard to connect to her and evidently hard to care.
At some point, to save her life, Millie needs a double mastectomy. Not only is this her greatest hardship but it’s also the best and most harrowing part of the film. It’s one of the only moments that made me care even, which is a shame because this is precisely the reason I came to the film in the first place.
When Millie turns to the camera and takes off her bandage it’s truly shocking to see how she has lost such a huge part of her identity and femininity. I just wish there was more of these touching moments.
OK, so we’ve established that the film missed my expectations so how does it do as a film about friendship? Meh… it’s OK. The chemistry between Barrymore and Collette is decent and you could easily believe they are good friends in real life. A good script allows for a lot of dicking about and banter between all the main characters which helps to build the on screen friendships.
Even if this friendship is half decent I can’t get over the fact that this is a really wasted opportunity to visualise an important and life changing affliction. Even when it does try to draw tears from your eyes there isn’t enough context for the illness and given she isn’t a very likeable character I don’t think I’m missing Millie already.
- The boob job
- Chemistry between the two leads
- Amusing script
- It’s not very powerful
- Cancer is given a back seat
- Millie is not a very nice person