It was interesting going to an evening session, as I did recently at the State, to belatedly show my support for its leg of the Italian Film Festival. On this Tuesday eve the Hobartian institution was pumping. The place was jam-packed – foyer, café – upstairs and down – and when I reached it, early-ish as usual – there were already only a handful of seats left in my viewing room. The audience ensconced there seemed to be all happily murmuring to each other, sipping on wines or partaking of flat whites. The clients were decidedly better dressed than I, even if I wasn’t in my usual garb of trackies and crocs. In other words, I had made an effort – but even so, I felt slightly out of place when the other cinema goers obviously felt that, even in this day and age, attending the movies at night required dressing to the nines. But that’s all good, I reckon.
It was such a contrast when I ventured to the same venue last Monday. It is my usual wont to attend the first screening of the day of my film of choice. ‘Miss You Already’, the UK set latest vehicle of now veteran Toni Collette, was it on that day. I was one of only four viewees – another loner, female, and a middle-aged couple up the back. Sometimes, at this hour, I am the sole attendee in one the State’s eight or so cinemas. I like being early – having a coffee before hand, or puddling around in the attached bookshop. I carry a newspaper to peruse until the lights go down. I am quite happy and feel not at all self-conscious at being unpartnered. Any conversation by my fellow buffs seems to be amplified at that time of day, possibly due to diminished numbers. So, when the other loner received a call on her mobile, perfectly okay as the feature hadn’t started, I could not help but overhear. She proceeded to explain to the other party where she was and what she was about to see. She continued on that she had heard that our chosen movie was one that was terribly tragic and she’d been warned to have copious tissues in possession. So I therefore feared the worse. I notoriously tear-up at the drop of the hat.
I knew, of course, that the subject matter was no laughing matter – although our lead did her best to keep on cracking funnies, despite the ordeal she was progressing through. Battling breast cancer is the situation Toni Collette finds herself in. Her character, Milly, was facing the cruellest of cruel outcomes. I reckon I had my hankie out by the ten minute mark and by the end of the first half hour I had shed more tears than in all the titles I’d seen so far in ’15 combined. Then it got better after that. No, her situation remained dire – but I seemed to be able to cope without being a blathering wreck as the heartstrings were pulled even tighter. Perhaps I’d simply run out of tears. The prognosis for Millie became bleaker and bleaker the longer the movie ran.
Before and in the early stages of the disease Milly was the life of the party. She was a ditzy and scatty; a thoroughly adorable high-flyer – but once the awfulness of her affliction took away her hair and then her breasts she, naturally, found it harder to keep up the pretence. Milly was married to a rock star who, as the disease progressed, found it difficult to cope with the triple whammy of her deterioration, her mood-swings and the two confused kiddies. He really blew it the first time the couple attempted intimacy after her mastectomy, which led our heroine into a fling before her condition made any of that sort of thing near impossible. It was with a bartender on the Yorkshire moors, no less.
Until said fling, her bestie had been there for her. Jess (Drew Barrymore – expressly asked for by Collette to play the role) had issues of her own – in the conceiving department. As the news became worse for her mate, it became better and better for a Jess now on IVF. Barrymore was the grounded counter to Toni C’s zaniness and I enjoyed her considered performance. There were also fine turns from the men-folk involved – Dominic Cooper as struggling hubby and singer Tyson Ritter as her handsome, devil-may-care lover. I was especially impressed with Paddy Considine as the ever tolerant partner to Jess. He tries to hold it all together as the womenfolk veer off in all directions.
To my mind only the great Blanchett can match Collette as our best female product on the big screen – sorry Nicole. I enjoyed TC in last year’s ‘Lucky Them’ immensely – and of course there’s the roles she’s most noted for: ‘Muriel’s Wedding’, ‘About a Boy’ and a personal fav – ‘Japanese Story’.
On the smaller screen she’s made the ground-breaking ‘The United States of Tara’. I suspect by the time my scribbling on it makes it to print this movie will have left the multiplexes. If you’ve missed it, no doubt it’ll be just as powerful on your very own small domestic platform – that’s the right up-to-date lingo, isn’t it?
Trailer for ‘Miss You Already’ = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5LdNvLXddA