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Our Friend - DVD Review

Our Friend

It often takes an earth-shattering moment to remind us that sometimes, it is friendship – not biological family – that gets us through some of life’s most challenging times. That’s the big take-away in Our Friend, which tells the devastating true story of the Teague family and how their lives were suddenly upended when a family member was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"While it’s easy to make cancer the bad guy in any film, the more difficult task is upstaging the disease with kindheartedness. Our Friend does just that."


Lovingly adapted by Brad Ingelsby (Out of the Furnace) from Matthew Teague’s “Esquire” magazine article “The Friend: Love is Not a Big Enough Word,” Our Friend takes us through the journalist’s soul-searing journey following his wife and local theater actress, Nicole’s (Dakota Johnson) final months as she battled cancer.

Via a fractured timeline that jumps back and forth, we meet Nicole’s husband, Matt (Casey Affleck), a war correspondent struggling to balance his career and home life, as well as Nicole’s best friend Dane (Jason Segel), a relative ne’er do well who sets his own life aside to care for Nicole and the family during her sickness.Our Friend

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s biggest ace in the hole is the manner in which she handles the delicate subject matter without allowing it to tip over into melodrama. But make no mistake, this is tough stuff, often difficult to watch, and undoubtedly one of the saddest films you’ll ever see. But out of that pit of gloom she mines a genuine sense of brightness and hope at the honesty with which her story plays out. Never afraid of bringing the downright ugliest parts of dying to the screen, Cowperthwaite throws both the good and bad at us. She does so with a much-appreciated sense of dignity and restraint.

Grief, loss, love, betrayal and anger are all explored in depth in Our Friend, as Nicole prepares future letters for daughters Mollie and Evie (Isabella Kai and Violet McGraw, respectively), while also fulfilling her personal bucket list, and working through some recently discovered secrets. But the film’s strength comes from the friendship on display, primarily from Dane, who leaves behind his girlfriend, job, apartment, and life in New Orleans to step in as Nicole’s caretaker in Georgia. Segel gives up his usual charming nuttiness and turns in one of his best dramatic performances in quite some time – if not ever.

Not to be outdone, Johnson inspires with a dignified performance that rivals her exquisite turn in the underrated The Peanut Butter Falcon, where she held her own against LeBeouf and Gottsagen, while Affleck puts it in Manchester by the Sea overdrive and vividly illustrates a man’s broken heart. Though ripe for melodrama, Cowperthwaite impresses with her ability to tiptoe the fine line between understated and mawkish.

While it’s easy to make cancer the bad guy in any film, the more difficult task is upstaging the disease with kindheartedness. Our Friend does just that. It is now streaming.

5/5 stars

DVD Details

Home Video Distributor: Universal
Available on Blu-ray
- March 30, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH; Spanish
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: DVD Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Behind the scenes with cast & crew


Film Details

Our Friend

MPAA Rating: R for language.
Runtime:
124 mins
Director
: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Writer:
Brad Ingelsby
Cast:
Jason Segel, Isabella Kai, Violet McGraw
Genre
: Drama
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "It's not fair that I'm the only woman who knows how special you are."
Theatrical Distributor:
Gravitas Ventures
Official Site: https://ourfriendmovie.com/
Release Date:
January 22, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: After receiving life-altering news, a couple finds unexpected support from their best friend, who puts his own life on hold and moves into their family home, bringing an impact much greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined.

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Our Friend

 

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