Film Review: Miss You Already

Film Review: Miss You Already

Miss You Already


Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Starring Toni Collette, Drew Barrymore, Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine, Charlotte Hope, Tyson Ritter, Jacqueline Bisset, Noah Huntley, Mem Ferda, Eileen Davies, Honor Kneafsey. Written by Morwenna Banks.

Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore are London besties whose relationship is threatened by terminal illness in Miss You Already, a cancer-themed weepie from Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke so obvious that even the title seems to be a spoiler.

From an early age, native Londoner Milly (Collette) and American transplant Jess (Barrymore) formed an inseparable bond. The first act of the film amounts to a lengthy montage that charts their important life events, with each playing a large part in the other’s story.

There are first dates, first kisses, and noteworthy sexual encounters, such as when Milly is bedded by a rocker named Kit, played by Dominic Cooper. There are scenes of the actresses playing decades-younger versions of their characters, and while Collette is only a few years Barrymore’s senior, she seems considerably older.

Milly’s hookup with Kit leads to a pregnancy, followed by marriage, and then children. Jess becomes a loving “auntie” while settling down with deep-sea miner Jago (Paddy Considine) in their houseboat-on-the-Thames as the film settles into present-day.

But it never really settles. Miss You Already never sheds that montage feel, and the rest of it comes off as the continued highlight reel of important events in each other’s lives, only now they’re really important and somber. But also droll and sometimes funny, ‘cause you can’t let life get you down.

After Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer, she goes through the five stages of death in about as much time as Homer Simpson, coming to terms with the disease with the support of her best friend amidst rising tensions in her marriage and concerns from her two children.

The film’s strongest scenes, which come off as a gender-reversal riff on the Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Seth Rogen dramedy 50/50, detail the day-to-day mundanity of dealing cancer and its treatments. Weakened both mentally and physically by chemotherapy and surgery, one of Milly’s most poignant struggles is simply keeping up appearances.

But these are only brief fragments of the film’s narrative, which also deals with Jess’ long-awaited pregnancy while her husband is away at sea for months at a time and her best friend is fighting a terminal illness. Jess’ storyline here hits more familiar notes, and detracts from the stronger storyline.

Miss You Already succeeds to the point it does on the strength of its leading performances: Collette and Barrymore don’t really feel like lifelong friends here, but each provides a vibrant and vivid characterization. I found Barrymore’s Jess much more sympathetic, but Collette has far more to work with in the showier role.

Their male counterparts, meanwhile, are given the short thrift: Considine and Cooper have little to do other than react to events in their wives’ lives, and two talented actors are completely wasted.

The one time Miss You Already does pause long enough to let story strands percolate – during a booze-fueled countryside retreat – it becomes considerably more interesting. But while climactic scenes are undeniably effective, the film never settles down long enough to work as a cohesive whole. 

The soundtrack includes original music by Harry Gregson-Williams along with a few pop hits and a new title track performed by Joan Jett.

Jason Pirodsky

Hailing from Syracuse, New York, Jason Pirodsky made his way to Prague via Miami and has stuck around, for better and worse, since 2004. A member of the Online Film Critics Society (, some of his favorite movies include O Lucky Man!, El Topo, Berlin Alexanderplatz, and Hellzapoppin'. Follow him on Twitter for some (slightly) more concise reviews.

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