By Liz Lopez

Rating: B

The eight days of the Austin Film Festival wrapped this week and among the multiple films were sixteen in the Marquee Features category. On the second day of the festival, director/executive producer,  Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Thirteen, Lords Of Dogtown) was to be in attendance at the Austin Film Festival for her new film Miss You Already, but had to cancel due to the devastating storms in Austin, and Travis and Hays County where the floods took four lives. Hardwicke directs this comedy-drama from the screenplay by British writer, actress and executive producer Morwenna Banks (Damned, The Announcement).

The day of the screening was gloomy weather and I had hoped the comedy might lift the spirits somewhat. Overall, Banks idea for the script is a wonderful story about two best friends since childhood in London, Milly (Toni Collette, The Way Way Back) and Jess (Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens) as they navigate their lives into adulthood, facing many challenges including through both birth and death. I like that the story, although a work of fiction, is one that many people who have had long term friendships and/or are close with someone who has dealt with severe or life threatening illness will certainly identify with the characters in some way. Is it hard to watch? Most definitely, but it is very uplifting to see the reality of life and relationships – with all the ups and down many face – and how we must go on.

Casting is by Lucy Bevan who selected great actors. Miss You Already also stars Dominic Cooper (My Week with Marilyn, The History Boys) as Kit, Milly’s husband. After viewing Cooper’s performance in The Devil’s Double, it is hard to imagine him in the role of a father of three, but with his versatility, he was absolutely great. Jess’s boyfriend is Jago (Paddy Considine, Pride, The Bourne Ultimatum) who also was very impressive as the love interest for Barrymore’s character and one I also would not have predicted to be cast, especially after his performance in The World’s End with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Jacqueline Bisset (Welcome To New York) stars as Miranda, Milly’s mother, who is an actress and often was absent while the girls were growing up. Absent if not physically, but emotionally as she is used to being the center of attraction and not aware what her daughter needs.

The director of photography is cinematographer Elliot Davis (Man of Tai Chi, The Iron Lady, Twilight). Filmed in London, including Ilkley in Yorkshire, Beach Blanket Babylon in Shoreditch and Bricket Wood, there are several scenes that are captivating, especially scenes along the water.

Costume designer Claire Finlay-Thompson has a great talent for the wardrobe on the project that spans many decades as the friends are growing up. Jan Sewell provides great talent for the hair and make-up.

The music supervisors are Jen Ross (Empire) and Jojo Villanueva (Straight Outta Compton, Iron Man), with music by composer, Harry Gregson-Williams (The Martian).  The song selections are very appealing.

Miss You Already opens at the following theatres in Austin on Friday, November 6th: Arbor Cinemas at Great Hills 8, AMC Barton Creek 14, and Hill Country Galleria 14.

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