Director: Catherine Hardwicke (2015)
If Richard Curtis, the writer of About Time (2013) ever made a film about cancer, it would look and sound a lot like this.
It’s cringingly sincere, sentimental, smug and worthy.
Kids and adults swear for comic effect and there’s a romcom style madcap dash to a maternity unit.
Occasional flashes of quality allow for some almost bearable moments.
Toni Collette plays irritating London fashionista Milly whose idyllic life is quite spoiled when she contracts breast cancer.
Refreshingly the disease brings out the worst not the best in her. But sadly it doesn’t make her any more likeable.
Her two children are brattishly annoying.
Meanwhile best friend Drew Barrymore is a houseboat-dwelling hippie with fertility issues.
Spouses Dominic Cooper and Paddy Considine are sidelined. One is emotionally adrift, the other all at sea on an oil rig.
Neither couple convince but the friendships among genders are believable.
Jacqueline Bisset and Frances de la Tour raise the acting bar in their brief moments. The former full of regret as Millie’s glamorous mother, the latter dispenses wigs, advice and a little tough love.
Among the doctor’s appointments, liquid lunches and surprise parties, there’s a shouting match on the glorious North Yorkshire moors.
The script is very keen to point out she missed a potentially life-saving check up and it’s commendably honest about the physical realities of treatment.
Curious camera angles and clunky changes in pace and tone fail to offer insight or add dramatic interest. The actors’ seem perpetually in danger of the camera smashing them on the forehead.
Once again a film fails to eke out any humour from a birthing scene. One day filmmakers may realise there is nothing humorous in childbirth.