Our Friend, had its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. It was released on January 22, 2021. Barb Bretz has this week's Friday Film Review.
Our Friend, is a true story based on Matthew Teague’s 2015 Esquire essay entitled, “The Friend: Love is not a Big Enough Word.” In 2012, Teague’s 34 year-old wife and mother of their two young daughters, received a cancer diagnosis changing all their lives.
Teague wrote the essay following her death because he’d been so unprepared for the reality; the day to day demands and dramas of someone you love, shutting down in ways no one had fully explained.
He agreed to the making of the film because he wanted the story to live on. From readers’ responses, he knew the article had been helpful and hoped the film could reach out further.
Casting is excellent! Nicole, the beautiful, bright spirit of the film is played by Dakota Johnson. Her much quieter and sometimes brooding husband Matt, is played by Casey Affleck. Their long-time friend Dane, devoted to them all, who comes to stay for a week or two, but moves in for the duration, is endearingly played by Jason Segel.
Director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite comes from the documentary world and knows the importance of sticking to the facts when the story being told is true.
According to Segel, the authenticity was important to them all. He sad,"For this, the big thing for all of us was, did we tell Matt’s story well? It is his real story and it’s the story of truly, one of the hardest things you’ll ever go through in your life, but framed against the story of real friendship. That is a total tight walk. I think our director, Gabby nailed it.”
Going through this is a very lonely process. A person feels like they’re the only one who has ever had to suffer through such a thing. In reality, there are people everywhere, everyday, going through this, as cancer victims and as caregivers.
Teague’s hope is that the article and now the film…can reach out to those people in those lonely places and let them know other people understand what they are going through.
Our Friend is rated R and runs 2 hours and 4 soul-searching minutes. This is Barb Bretz with your Friday Film review. See you at the movies.