Some movies spoil themselves. Take Lawrence Of Arabia: Lean’s epic opens with Peter O’Toole on a motorbike in 1935, letting you know very early that despite a gruelling war in an unforgiving desert he’s going to come out of it A-Okay. And in a weepy drama where one of the leads is diagnosed with cancer, isn’t Miss You Already not a spoiler? No matter because this remains a touching drama.
nglish Jess (Barrymore) and American Milly (Collette) have been friends ever since Jess felt sorry Milly on the first day of school. Inseparable, the two girls grew up doing everything together, even getting married in a short space of each other: Jess to oil rigger Jago (Considine) and Milly to former rocker Kit (Cooper). Kids followed for Milly, with Jess and Jago trying with no success. Life is good though – the kind of good where one lives on a plush houseboat in London and where one doesn’t get vexed that the dry cleaners mucked up a tux on a big night. But you just know that it’s going to get all Beaches sooner rather than later when Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer…


n this adaptation of her own BBC radio play (with Olivia Colman and Natascha McElhone in the roles), writer/producer Morwenna Banks (best known to parents for voicing Mummy Pig in Peppa Pig) keeps things chirpy, resisting the temptation to get too serious too soon. There are chemo jokes and wigs gags, as if this were a Richard Curtis cancer drama. But she knows when to stop laughing and Banks gets braver than Curtis ever would in a scene where Collette, post op, strips to show Barrymore the results (is this why it’s 15A here and only 12A in the UK?). And the writer is prepared to allow Milly to become unlikeable for a spell. Despite the spoilerific title Miss You Already does indeed surprise along the way.
n other places the men are annoyingly drawn as clueless or selfish or both, and an impromptu trip to Yorkshire to explore the moors, the ladies at last visiting the setting of their favourite novel Wuthering Heights (a running motif that doesn’t really track) plunges the movie into structural chaos for a bit. Meanwhile Milly’s mum (a wonderful Jacqueline Bisset) comes on a little strong pushing Milly to stay attractive for her man despite what she’s going through – Would you? Would you really? And it’s just pure fantasy at times - FaceTime works for crying out loud.
ut you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved, especially during that post op scene and when Milly and Kit inform the kids what’s in store.
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