by Samantha Ho
Rated M. Starring Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke.
What can someone do when they hear of their friend’s terrible diagnosis?
Miss You Already is an awakening of the harsh reality of suffering, and doesn’t promise a comfortable ride of emotions. It follows the lifelong friendship of the vivacious Milly (Collette) and Jess (Barrymore), who have been together through many ups and downs. But nothing prepares them for the worst news to come – that Milly has breast cancer.
Part of the film’s appeal is writer Morwenna Banks’ straight-to-the-point wit. For a topic so grim, I laughed quite frequently and sincerely. I think that this was necessary, otherwise such a portrayal becomes too painful to watch. The movie is beautifully cast. I don’t think anyone else would’ve outperformed Collette in her role as Milly, and Barrymore’s maturity as Jess was a suitable balance for Milly’s eccentricities. The cinematography was also beautiful in its simplicity. It made the fictional experience of cancer very real and heavy, which was something I didn’t expect as much when I watched the trailer beforehand.
When something as shocking as cancer comes around in someone’s life, it never fails to leave a permanent scar. And whether we like it or not, it will leave scars on our loved ones’ lives, too. Those who remain in the struggle are tested in their perseverance and faithfulness. And often, people are not able to lift people out of the mess completely.
When the two best friends have some time to reflect, they edge closer to talking about the end of Milly’s life:
Milly: I really want there to be a heaven. Do you think he’ll let me in there?
Jess: Not unless they’ve lowered the entry requirements.
Milly’s question came across as only semi-serious, but I think it’s always the question on people’s minds when they know that death is knocking at their door. God doesn’t always give us warning bells when something catastrophic is going to be hurled at us. But these seasons of suffering help us think about our place in the bigger picture of life. In particular, whether God will “let us in” to his paradise. There are two passages that come to my mind:
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”” (John 11:25-26)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
These two passages talk about how those who put their faith in God’s gift of grace will receive eternal life. And what a ‘heaven’ that will be – when God will bring together those who’ve been affected by sin and its calamities, to a place of life and peace under His good rule. Christians know that we can only get this life through Jesus’ obedient life and sacrifice for us on the cross, because God’s standard is really high and we fall short!
Going down the elevator with fellow movie reviewers after viewing the film, one lady aptly remarked, “So who’s going to call their best friend and tell them that they love them?” Well, Miss You Already prompted me to send a message to my best friends. But this movie also reminded me that in times of extreme suffering, God is real, heaven is real, and the gift of salvation in Jesus is real. I’m giving Miss You Already four out of five stars.
Miss You Already releases in Australia on Thursday 8th October, and in the US on Friday 6th November.