Together Together

Together Together ★★★★★

It's no coincidence that Nicole Beckwith's movie Together Together features opening titles in the same font as every Woody Allen movie since she has made a beautiful film that works as a rebuttal to Allen's pictures. There's even a scene where characters discuss what it is that makes so many of Allen's "classic" films gross and creepy.

Matt (Ed Helms) is middle-aged single man who wants a child and is tired of waiting for the right person to come along to start a family with. So Matt hires a surrogate named Anna (Patti Harrison) to have his child. At first the movie shows that they have a certain awkward chemistry and a lesser film would simply make this a romcom with a grotesque lack of boundaries. But what Matt and Anna have is something else, maybe something deeper. It's a love story, all right. A love story about friendship. Not every great relationship worthy of film treatment is a romantic one. Platonic love is no less deeper or meaningful, and it's kind of messed up that Hollywood has generally shied away from telling these kinds of stories about men and women. When Harry Met Sally posited that men and women can never truly be friends because sex always gets in the way. Together Together says, "Fuck off, Billy Crystal. That's a childish way of thinking."

This is genuinely one of the funnier movies I've seen in a theater in a while. The laughs are deep because they come from a spectacularly real place thanks to the cast. Ed Helms has never been better. He so often specializes in cringe-inducing characters designed to make the audience squirm with uncomfortability, but here he sheds all that and presents a character who is less insecure, less afraid to be vulnerable and it's incredibly endearing. Peak likability for Helms. Patti Harrison is a perfect foil for Helms. Her comedic presence is off the charts. You may have seen her in some small roles here and there in film and television or perhaps you know her from standup. But this is her first lead role and it's clear she's a star in the making. It's also exciting to see an openly trans actor playing a cisgendered character. Add to that an exceptional supporting cast including Julio Torres, Anna Konkle, Tig Notaro, Nora Dunn, and Fred Melamed to surround the two leads and baby, you've got a stew going.

Together Together is one of the funniest, sweetest movies I've seen in this or any other year and it's definitely making my Best of 2021.