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Our Friend Film Review


Written by: #BradIngelsby and #MatthewTeague

Starring: #JasonSegel, #DakotaJohnson and #Casey Affleck

Film review by: Brian Penn

Our Friend (2019)

Our Friend is a touching and unusual story tracing the friendship between a couple and their best friend over a thirteen year period. It tackles a variety of life issues including failing relationships, parenthood and terminal illness. Although the underlying tone can occasionally be draining there’s more than enough here to hold the interest. An intelligent script constantly asks questions of the characters, and how we ourselves would handle the most difficult of situations.

The story begins with Nicole (Dakota Johnson) deep in discussion with husband Matt (Casey Affleck). They are discussing how to tell their daughters that she has terminal cancer. I suspect that many would stop reading at this point because of the film’s subject matter. However, the story flips back 13 years to flesh out a complex relationship that engages the audience. The couple’s best friend Dane (Jason Segel) forms a particularly close attachment and becomes a mainstay to them when Nicole is diagnosed. Dane remains supportive even at the expense of his own relationships and personal happiness. The regular flashbacks help to flesh out the characters’ back stories. Matt’s focus on his career as a top flight journalist; Nicole’s ambitions as an actor and Dane’s general lack of direction in life.

The acting is pretty much faultless as we see the narrative gently unfolding with heartbreaking sadness. The characters gradually make more sense, although Dane’s motivation is puzzling it becomes oddly compelling as a result. Like many films Our Friend is just too long; and becomes onerous when distressing scenes are more frequent and the inevitable end takes too long to arrive. That said, it’s a sharp reminder of what people go through when dealing with terminal illness. The scenes where they compile a bucket list are sad, funny and extremely well observed. If you have the stomach to stick with it this film can be a rewarding experience.


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