Many films about terminal illnesses are sentimental tearjerkers, but Catherine Hardwicke’s Miss You Already handles the topic with honesty and humour. Even as its main character battles with cancer, the film brims with powerful energy.
Friends since childhood; Millie (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) couldn’t be more different. Millie is the wild girl with a successful career, a happy marriage with Kit (Dominic Cooper), and two children. Jess is the sweet, loving girl who desperately wants a baby. When Millie is diagnosed with breast cancer, she vents her frustration by becoming reckless, putting pressure on both Jess and Kit.
Morwenna Banks’ script tugs the heartstrings, making you laugh and cry helplessly at the same time: Millie explaining chemotherapy to her children in a home presentation; Millie trying on her first wig; Jess calling Millie a “cancer bully”. These moments link together to make a tender and emotional film.
Collette gives a raw and vulnerable performance, and her chemistry with an equally brilliant Barrymore creates a warmth that can be felt right across the screen.
Jess’s family get less screen time, yet their side of the story is given enough attention to show how cancer not only changes the patient’s life, but affects others’ too.