The Reel Review
Jason Segel, Dakota Johnson and Casey Affleck star in this drama about a friend who moves in with his best friend’s family to help them after she is diagnosed with terminal cancer. It is based on a National Magazine Award-winning Esquire article Matt Teague wrote about his late wife Nicole and their close friend Dane Faucheux.
From its opening scene, Our Friend goes straight for the emotional jugular. It’s very montage heavy, with time jumps illustrating the emotional connections and lifelong bonds of their relationship. Despite an at times languid pace, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blackfish, Meagan Leavey) presents a very realistic, undignified look at the grueling physical and psychological toll that cancer takes on everyone. It’s an eye opener for the uninitiated.
That realism and strong performances from all three leads, as well as Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) as a camper who helps Dane regain his joy for life and Cherry Jones (Defending Jacob, 24) as the godsend of a hospice nurse in their darkest hour, elevates what otherwise could have been a touching yet predictable tearjerker. Segel and Johnson give career-best performances. Our Friend shows us in several ways the importance of friends who show up, not just in good times but also the bad ones.
• Matt Teague lives in Fairhope, Alabama with his two daughters in the house he and his wife Nicole built. He is remarried with a young son. Dane Faucheux is married and lives in New Orleans. They remain close friends.
• Dakota Johnson and Jason Segel co-starred in 2012’s The Five-Year Engagement.
• Producers got permission from Led Zeppelin to use their music in the film just days before the film’s release.