Title – Our Friend (2019)
Director – Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blackfish)
Cast – Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson, Jason Segal
Plot – Based on a true story, the film follows married couple Matt (Affleck) and Nicole Teague (Johnson) and their friendship with their closest friend Dane (Segal) who sticks by them as they battle Nicole’s vicious cancer diagnosis together.
“It’s not fair that I’m the only woman who knows how special you are”
Review by Eddie on 25/05/2021
A film that unfortunately fell victim to being released with very little fanfare early in 2021 after initially having its debut showing at various 2019 festival showings, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s moving and often inspiring based on a true story Our Friend (once known as The Friend) is a top quality drama that may at times feel familiar but constantly engages with its collection of great performances, humanly in tune delivery and heartwarming moments.
Based on journalist/writer Matthew Teague’s article title The Friend, Cowperthwaite’s film follows the lives of married couple/parents Matt and Nicole Teague and their dear friendship with their mutual friend Dane, a person some would see as a slacker or no-hoper but a friend that means the world to Matt and Nicole and joins them on their journey as Nicole battles a vicious form of cancer.
Told in a way that flashes between the past and present and therefore delivered in a way that is untypical for the family/illness sub-genre, Our Friend is one of those instantly warm films that wraps you up in its arms very early on and never lets you go with Cowperthwaite and screenwriter Brad Ingelsby doing a magnificent job of crafting a trio of fully rounded characters that are filled with all the flaws and graces that make humans so unique and engaging, as the film around them dances between beautiful moments of comedy and levity and some gut-wrenching moments that are confronting but necessary for such a tale.
There’s no doubt the film is aiming for tearjerker territory and can at times perhaps be guilty of manipulating moments to do so but for the majority Our Friend’s tears and laughter all feel well-earned, an earnest film that has its heart in the right place and takes its audience on a journey that makes you feel all the better for it.
Throughout this tale, one that sees Casey Affleck’s Matt and Dakota Johnson’s Nicole joined by Jason Segal’s Dane who understands the need the Teague’s have for help as they battle Nicole’s cancer diagnosis together, there’s a trio of awards worthy performances from its three lead performers with Affleck, Johnson and the almost never better Segal combining forces to create a group of people that feel alive, raw and honest to real life counterparts.
It’s always a joy to witness such a strong set of performances in a film of this quality and while the film may not have appealed to woke critics who were seeking more agenda pushing or topical side plots in their diet of drama films, in a just world each performer here would’ve well and truly been in consideration for award nominations at various industry awards that are meant to represent the best the industry has to offer on any given year.
Final Say –
A moving, inspiring and emotionally moving true life tale that will make you appreciate those close to you more than ever before, Our Friend is a top quality Hollywood drama that excels in capturing the ugly and beautiful moments that make us human and dictate our lives.
4 1/2 Cormac McCarthy books out of 5