A film I wanted to see but missed at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, Together Together is written and directed by Nikole Beckwith. After getting the second chance to view Together Together in theaters, I’m glad I caught the film which garnered a favorable reaction from both critics and audiences. I believe this could be a breakout movie for Beckwith.
Single millennial Anna (Patti Harrison) is selected to be the surrogate mother of a child for Matt, an app-developer in his forties who wishes to be a single father. The two develop a relationship which will challenge their perceptions of age, boundaries, and love.
What makes Beckwith’s film special is how it flips the romantic-comedy genre on its head. Together Together is not interested in sexual attraction or romantic love, but rather the platonic love shared between a man and woman. The age gap between Matt and Anna is acknowledged as something which would make a prospective romantic relationship between them strange, and the two are quick to move past that as Anna makes a point to Matt at the expense of Woody Allen. Instead, Matt loves Anna because she carries his baby and gives him the chance to start a family, and Anna learns to love Matt because he is caring and fully supportive through nine long months. The couple bond watching all the seasons of Friends, choosing a color for the nursery walls, and sharing their lives. But not unlike other relationships, Matt and Anna hit road bumps along the way. Matt’s over eagerness sometimes leads him to governing Anna’s life too much, and Anna’s initial lack of enthusiasm is a discouraging and confusing sign to Matt early on – no one said this pregnancy thing would be easy. While often forgotten about in Hollywood, platonic love stories deserve to be told too and Together Together does a wonderful job telling one.
Ed Helms is typically known for playing the awkward guy in comedy movies, and is forced to cover less familiar territory in the role of Matt. While there are plenty of moments where Matt is the awkward one, which is where Helms flourishes, it is the dramatic elements of the film where Helms is able to adapt and truly elevate his performance. I also really enjoyed the work here from Patti Harrison. I was unfamiliar with her going into the film, but will make sure to remember her name moving forward. Harrison, who has a background in comedy like Helms, plays more of a straight character as Anna but is still comedic in a deadpan sort of way. Her dramatic ability is where she shines in the movie, however, and her chemistry with Helms works like a charm.
Together Together could’ve fallen into the same tired genre tropes we’ve seen time and time again, but instead chooses to subvert expectations. Every time the film threatens to go in a predictable direction, it pleasantly surprises by going a different route. The film’s ending may annoy some viewers, as it lacks resolution and seems a bit abrupt; I found Beckwith’s selected cutoff to be more prudent than anything.
Together Together is a delightful dramatic comedy which tells a platonic love story and depicts aspects of pregnancy in an honest manner. The film’s stars are two comedians who demonstrate they have the range to act in a movie like this. Together Together isn’t a film you necessarily need to see in theaters, but is worth keeping on your radar for a rental one night (barring a landing on one of the many streaming platforms).