Written and directed by Nikole Beckwith, when a young loner becomes the gestational surrogate for a single man in his 40s, the two strangers come to realize this unexpected relationship will challenge their perceptions of connection, boundaries and the particulars of love. Starring: Patti Harrison, Ed Helms, Rosalind Chao, Nora Dunn, Fred Melamed, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres and Sufe Bradshaw.
There are certain genres that fall prey to being harshly judged on preconceptions rather than the actual film and Together Together lands pretty squarely in that box. Dealing with pregnancy, single parenthood, a search for meaning or direction and an unlikely friendship, will probably cause viewers to assume it’s something cheesy and unoriginal which it definitely isn’t. Granted, there are a few moments here and there which are sincere clichés but thankfully they’re not too frequent. Outside of that there’s a sweet, touching and genuine story. The tone is gently awkward, its comedy and emotion arise naturally out of an extremely relatable atmosphere. It moves at a good pace and its balance between humour and drama is well done to slowly grow on you.
It’s a rarity to find a film about a man actively trying to have a baby on his own, let alone one written and directed by a woman, so it’s a refreshing change of pace. One of the keys to this film’s success is the important choice of not making the connection between Matt (Helms) and Anna (Harrison) a romantic one. It’s one of several smart choices made by Nikole Beckwith, the most bold being the ending. The closing shot is one that won’t work for anyone searching for a good old fashioned Hollywood sunset ending but it’s utterly perfect. The whole visual feels very reflective of the story, it has a calming, gentle colour to it but also has an edge of the sharp, much like its intelligent, witty, kind-hearted characters.
Pairing Ed Helms with Patti Harrison was a brilliant piece of casting because it simply feels like such an unlikely combination it becomes part of their charm. They both bring strong, completely different personalities to create fleshed out, sympathetic characters. Watching them together you feel a genuine connection between them, it grows at the perfect speed for you to deeply invest in their journeys. They have their flaws but they’re confident, intelligent, funny and generous people, which Helms and Harrison bring effortlessly. There’s also a handful of great supporting actors who help to push the comedic side of the film, particularly Sufe Bradshaw who brings her quintessential steely attitude that will delight Veep fans to see. On top of which you have Tig Notaro, Rosalind Chao, Nora Dunn, Fred Melamed and more, it’s a fantastic group of actors.
Together Together is a delight, a rom-com minus the romance, sweet and touching. The atmosphere feels familiar yet with its own unique spin. Ed Helms and Patti Harrison work brilliantly together and have a superb supporting cast alongside them. Nikole Beckwith has managed to do for this story of a single dad what so many male directors have struggled to do with stories of single mothers. It’s genuine, gentle and smart, making for easy, entertaining and hopeful viewing.