Saturday 10 February 2024

Movie Review: Our Friend (2019)

Genre: Drama  
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite  
Starring: Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson, Jason Segel  
Running Time: 124 minutes  

Synopsis: The story is told through multiple time jumps. In Alabama of 2013, Matt and Nicole Teague (Casey Affleck and Dakota Johnson) inform their two daughters that Nicole is close to succumbing to cancer. Matthew is a writer and Nicole is a theatre actress, and back in 2000 they were establishing their careers in New Orleans when Nicole's colleague Dane (Jason Segel) became a family friend. When Nicole was diagnosed in 2012, Dane moved in to provide support. Flashbacks also reveal the couple's previous struggles: work assignments kept them apart, and a near-affair threatened the relationship. 

What Works Well: Based on a true story, this is an honest celebration of friendship under exceptional stress. Dane's actions are selfless, and the sidekick perceived as a goof becomes the one person to step up and provide essential support to a devastated family. The trio of Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson, and Jason Segel excel in forging a triangle of support. All three are portrayed as essentially good people, but director Gabriela Cowperthwaite also invests in the wrinkles of Matt and Nicole's marriage, and the spikier edges of friendship.

What Does Not Work As Well: The frequent time jumps add unnecessary clutter and awkward truncations to what is an ultimately simple story. With insufficient content to stretch over two hours, several scenes are unnecessary while others linger well after the point is made.

Conclusion: Competent and well-intentioned without ever threatening to be exceptional.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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