THIS REVIEW is brought to you by KATHY KAISER @matineechat.com
OUR FRIEND – Rated R – 2 hrs. 4 mins.
DIRECTOR: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
WRITTEN BY: Brad Ingelsby (Screenplay), Matthew Teague (Article, THE FRIEND)
STARRING: Jason Segel, Dakota Johnson, Casey Affleck, Isabella Kai and Violet McGraw
As I so love what a real-life story brings to the screen, I couldn’t wait to catch this film, even though I also knew going in, OUR FRIEND was definitely not going to be a pick-me-up along the way either. I still readily ventured into the lives of journalist Matt Teague (Casey Affleck), his beautiful wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson), and their quirky best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segal), as it became very apparent from the start that this true friendship was one that few of us could rival, as Dane proceeds to put his own personal life on hold, to come to the aid of his friends, and their two young daughters Molly (Isabella Kai) and Evie (Violet McGraw), once Cancer enters the picture…
And as I watched this incredibly real, and very moving film play out for the next 2+ hours, it also became apparent very quickly that Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite made every effort to make this film as transparent as possible to the real-life struggles this family, like so many others are forced to face, when Cancer creeps into their lives. She also perfectly manages to bring out exceptional performances from her entire cast too, as you begin to follow them through all the ups and downs their facing, regardless of how uncomfortable it all seems along the way…
I truly hope that each of the Actors this time around get the accolades their performances deserve, as in very few films have I seen such perfect casting, with Casey Affleck playing a Father that loves his wife and family, yet struggles to deflect his drive to hone a journalistic career that truly means something. Dakota Johnson’s performances just keep getting better and better along the way too, as who would have guessed that a career kickstarted in the 50 shades of Grey franchise, could have evolved so quickly into her perfectly playing a real-life Mom, who strives to make a perfect life for her girls, while living out her own dreams in musical theater on a local stage, and then having to face a terminal diagnosis with as much fierceness and determination as she conveys on screen. And even if Jason Segel hasn’t been one of your favorite actors over the years – As I must attest, he hasn’t been one of mine – his performance this time around is truly outstanding, as his compassion, reverence, and deep commitment to his friends is completely palatable throughout every inch of this fantastic film. I was so profoundly moved by what he brought to this film, that I found myself zeroing in on how many of us find solace in refocusing our own world, to assist another in the struggles they face, because it helps us to deflect our own self-imposed issues.
And for all you sentimental fools like myself out there, make sure to have the tissues ready this time too, whether you are catching this film at a theater near you, or on streaming, as OUR FRIEND totally captures the captivating dynamics of friendship that we each hope to experience within our lifetime, without sugar coating any of the struggles that a terminal Cancer diagnosis brings to a family, as it touches your heart and will make you want to squeeze all those loved ones around you just a little bit tighter …
4.5 / 5