Saturday, December 11, 2021

Together Together: Movie Review

A simple but hilarious examination of a relationship.
Stripped of all extraneous immateriality, Together Together gets down to the bare necessities ripe for humour. Matt (Ed Helms) is a man in his 40s and has decided he wants a baby and is interviewing surrogates. He has his questions organized and is surprised when Anna (Patti Harrison) responds with bluntness and her own questions. She's just doing it for the money but it's the honesty that brings them together.   2021

Directed by: Nikole Beckwith

Screenplay by: Nikole Beckwith

Starring: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison

The film has a very stark efficiency to it. The minimalism of the production can make it difficult to get into for some. But the jokes come fast and often and really drive the film forward. Matt is prim and proper and has the surrogate contract drawn up legally. Anna doesn't mind until he starts nitpicking about what she's eating and wondering if it's legal contract-wise. Anna counters that what she eats only matters for nine months, but what he eats matters for eighteen-plus years. The characters have a really fun push and pull relationship.

The heart of the film is with both characters. They're both real and relatable and true to themselves and so realistic. Matt is gen X -- a classic gen X. He got a job in the tech industry, focused on his career instead of relationships and now he's in his 40s and being told it's too late. Matt has a really great defining line which speaks to me and everyone who relates to him (paraphrasing): It's difficult maintaining hope when everyone around you is calling you hopeless.

Like his generation, Matt is organized, well-read and likes doing things the way society expects. Anna is in her late 20s and is a pure millennial. She doesn't much care for society's proper way of doing things and will say whatever comes to mind. She's truthful and honest. She hasn't been able to create a career for herself and so her boomer parents call her useless.

Matt is often confused by Anna but finds her approach to life refreshing. Anna is often annoyed by Matt but recogizes that he genuinely cares for her well-being. And that's where Nikole Beckwith's screenplay really shines. She has created two characters perfectly representative of their generation and found the aspects of their personalities that will bring them together.

There's a lot of little things in Together Together that spark joy; for instance, the poster depicts the scene where they choose the paint color for the baby room and Matt has to teach Anna what each color represents. Anna chooses based on what the color looks like, Matt chooses based on the meaning behind the color. And then there's the watching of Friends. A past-time for all gen-Xers who have to explain to the younger millennials why the show is so good. The movie has a really effective parallel with the show. They've been watching together but as they get to season 9, Anna is fed up with Matt's clinginess and wants to be on her own. As all Friends fans know, season 9 is when Rachel has her baby on her own.

With Ed Helms' heartbreaking honesty and natural humour and Patti Harrison's ferocious wit, Together Together is a hilarious but really touching tale of a relationship through the generations gap. It is just so sweet and funny, a true gem.