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VOD Review: Together Together

May 12, 2021

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Matt (Ed Helms) and Anna (Patti Harrison), the two people at the centre of Together Together, a film that uses the artifice of a rom-com to explore even deeper themes of friendship, aren’t together together, hence the film’s title.

He is a single man in his mid-forties who wants to have a child, and she is a woman in her mid-twenties that he hires to be his surrogate. And the film, which is written and directed by Nikole Beckwith, charts the friendship that forms between them as Anna tries to set boundaries between her and Matt and his baby that she is carrying.

As a bond forms between Matt and Anna, Together Together actually becomes something deeper than the romantic comedy it might seem like on the surface. Instead of going for potentially cheap will-they, won’t-they tension, Beckwith instead probes this complex situation with gentle humour and a great deal of tenderness. The film mainly unfolds through long dialogue-driven scenes that offer great insight into the characters, allowing us to watch as their friendship forms and grows.

It’s a relationship film, sure, but it’s one primarily about a platonic friendship, and Beckwith stages it in a deeply felt way. There are maybe a few elements of the story that could have been explored further, and some of the supporting players, including Matt’s family, feel underused. But the success of Together Together rests in the performances of Helms and Harrison, and the chemistry between them is both winning and incredibly likeable.

Helms gives one of his finest performances as one of those nervous, slightly overeager characters that he plays so well, with many scenes playing off his face and allowing him to show an incredibly expressive range. Harrison is equally strong, delivering a major breakout performance that moves perfectly from delightful, sardonic humour to moments of heart-shattering emotion. The supporting cast is rounded out by memorable turns from Julio Torres as Anna’s deadpan co-worker at the coffee shop where she works, Tig Notaro as a couple’s therapist, and Sufe Bradshaw as an ultrasound technician who ends up unwittingly privy to their personal business.

In a similar vein to other movies about unique pregnancy situations like Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, Beckwith has crafted a perceptive mix of comedy and drama. As a filmmaker, she shows an impressive ability to stage bittersweet scenes around small moments like picking out paint swatches, and the film builds towards a final scene that is quite poignant in terms of how it is framed, ending things on just the right note.

Together Together is now available to watch on a variety of Digital and VOD platforms. It’s being distributed in Canada by levelFILM.

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