So, I had the television all to myself last Friday night and so I decided to watch a girly movie. I picked Miss You Already with Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore, two of my favourite actresses.
OMG, what a bundle of emotion I was, I’m surprised I didn’t flood the couch with tears.
The movie was one of those movies a little too close to home for me, it was so bloody raw and real. I went through a plethora of emotions including regret, envy, sadness, loss, fear, hope…you name it.
Miss You Already is a story about two women, Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore), best friends joined at the hip since primary school. They experienced pretty much everything together, there was not one photograph that didn’t have each other in it. They were polar opposites but so much the same. I was envious of their friendship, I often wish I had a friendship like theirs. Someone who knows me inside out, someone to confide in, someone to share my highs and lows with (that isn’t my husband), someone that knows what I’m thinking without having to say it, someone I know who’d be there when I needed it the most, a lifelong friend.
Fast forward to today and I still find close friendships a struggle because I have a hard time really opening myself up to someone without the fear of being rejected for exposing the real yet vulnerable me. Oh how I crave a girls weekend away, sitting around in pyjamas and having a good old yarn, being able to confidently call a friend and ball my eyes out or have a deep and meaningful. I also have a bad habit of not making enough time for my friends, but I also think that comes with the territory of being a busy working mum.
So, on with the movie. It wasn’t just the friendship between Milly and Jess that got me all emotional, it was the breast cancer part. I think anyone that has been touched by breast cancer, either directly or indirectly, would feel similar emotion. Without going into Milly’s somewhat selfish and vain character and ability to look glam and determined with such cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy hanging over head, it was the immense realism in the story that took me right back to when I was 15 and 17 years old. The finding out, the chemotherapy, the waiting, the results and eventually, the dying part. The dying part really really sucks.
My Oma died of breast cancer when I was 15 years old, I was at an age when I knew exactly what was going on and it affected me immensely. It still does today because my Oma is one of the people who has inspired me in life. You can read about her here and here.
I will never forget it eventhough it was almost 20 years ago. The diagnosis, the treatment, the hope that it’ll be ok and then the bad news. It has spread.
Even after having her double mastectomy and the trauma of dealing with it, things weren’t OK for Milly, she was terminal. And so the movie progresses to the part where she’s in a hospice receiving palliative care.
Although my Oma wasn’t put into a hospice, my Meema, who also died of cancer when I was 17, did go into a hospice and the movie depicted the atmosphere of it so accurately. It was little things like how the room was set up with family photos, the way it looked like a home away from home. And the colour of Milly’s skin, the way she lay in bed as though every last ounce of energy had been taken from her, from her hair, her skin….it was very real. It was hard to fight back tears.
All while Milly was battling breast cancer, Jess was battling infertility until one day, IVF was successful and she fell pregnant. But Jess found it hard to tell Milly, she felt so guilty that her life was going swimmingly and Milly’s wasn’t. It took a while for Jess to share her news with Milly, yet even on Milly’s death bed, she literally escaped the hospice, her mother pushing her in a wheelchair disguised as a doctor, to be by Jess’s side during the birth, just as Jess had been there for both Milly’s births.
And there is that power of close friendship that I envy.
But, as much as I might sound as though this movie was a bad thing, it wasn’t. It challenged my perspectives on life, something I like to do every now and then. This movie, although it made me cry A LOT, was cathartic and real, a poignant reminder that life is short and to make the most of experiences and everyone in it, no matter how close.
Do you have a close friendship like Milly and Jess’s? Have there been any movies that have moved you like Miss You Already moved me?