together together

Sometimes you see a film you didn’t know you needed to see. It has to be the sort of story that strikes a chord emotionally but also makes you smile. Director Nicole Beckwith’s “Together Together” starring Ed Helms and Patti Harrison gave me that very feeling. The story follows Anna (Harrison) who winds up becoming the surrogate for the child of a single man, Matt (Helms). While that may sound like a zany comedy, what we end up with is incredibly warm and moving. If you need a story to make you feel good, then look no further than this.

The enjoyment that comes with watching “Together Together” comes in the form of a one-two punch. Both Harrison and Helms—thanks to Beckwith’s script—craft performances that make these people feel real. It’s because of this realness, that the story never steeps into a romantic subplot. These characters are never forced to reveal a “hidden affection” for one another but can remain as friends. There’s never a moment of slapstick, but the humor comes from a very tender place. Scenes varying from picking out a baby grip, to a parenting class don’t play out in the way you’d expect; which by the time the film was over made me realize how much of the script was a character.

What Beckwith so wisely accomplishes is the fine balance in tone between charm and earnestness. Even the people from these characters' past, who could be a villain in another film, don’t act the way you’d expect. No one ever condescends to Molly or Matt or even frowns about their decisions. It’s such a refreshing surprise and one that really allows Helms and Harrison to create nuanced chemistry that’s so compelling to see. That ability is also accomplished thanks to the film’s 90-minute runtime. 

Clocking in at that mark really allows the story to focus on its best element, character dynamics. Evening in the supporting players from Matt’s parents to Molly’s coworker, everyone is given a moment. Throughout these more comedic scenes, Beckwith keeps focusing on how her characters are dealing with the situation. Simultaneously, this lets each supporting actor steal the scene they’re in. Having seen the film twice now—first in January at Sundance—has made me realize we need more movies like this. Such a story that doesn’t rely on a heavily dramatic conflict is arguably the film’s biggest asset.

One of the only ways it won’t work for you is if you dislike stories without a lot of conflicts. Seeing these characters navigate surrogacy doesn’t set up the highest of stakes, but that really doesn’t matter. Which is in no small part is thanks to the cast who are just so compelling, it’s hard not to like it. These actors and this script take something that could’ve been a lifetime movie and turned it into something meaningful. How they’re able to accomplish this is why “Together Together” is one of the most surprising films I’ve seen in 2021.

Most movies today focus on some grand soliloquy on a theme they want audiences to take away. There are certain themes here, but the focus falls more in line with humane looks at how platonic relationships work. It’s these sorts of story elements that make the film such an all-around pleasant experience. Some may consider the story to be “slight,” but that simply isn’t the case here. Our finished product is a story about a friendship forming in a rather sweet and unexpected way. Out in theaters now or on-demand in May, if you want to smile, check this one out!

Rating: 8.5/10

Watch Trailer Here:

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