Bleecker Street’s latest film is, remarkably, not a prequel to their early 2021 film, Together Together. This movie’s title leaves out the word redundancy, leaving us with Together, a comedy-drama from writer Dennis Kelly and director Stephen Daldry.
The film stars James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan as a couple who must reevaluate their relationship as they are forced to quarantine together during the COVID-19 lockdown in a series of stories, monologues, and fourth-wall-breaking.
Immediately, the film can draw comparisons to other pandemic films made during the COVID era. We have Locked Down, a film with the exact same premise mixed with the heist genre. We also had Malcolm & Marie, another one-location movie about a couple arguing.
Hollywood has always recycled ideas, but what keeps audiences watching is the filmmaker’s twist on the idea. Locked Down was combining the idea with a diamond heist, Malcolm & Marie was all on one night and had Sam Levinson’s thoughts on filmmakers and film critics, and this movie? Fourth wall breaking.
There honestly isn’t a fourth wall to break because this movie obliterates it to hell. The characters spend most of the film talking to the camera about their past and current relationship, which has hilariously gone down the drain.
As our two unnamed leads talk about their experiences and stories about how they’re still together despite their absolute hatred for each other, it leads to some genuinely funny moments of comedy as their disdain for the other allows for some laugh-out-loud moments of conflict.
While this is a comedy, there are sequences where the movie becomes very somber. As this is a capsule of emotions felt during the global pandemic, the movie explores the funny feeling of living with people grinding on our nerves, but it goes to other places.
And every time the movie wants the audience to take it seriously, it works. We can go from laughing at one moment to being in shock in the next, and the movie balances the tone between humor and drama very well.
This movie primarily works because of the performances. McAvoy and Horgan are a tour de force, offering some of the best scenes of the year. In addition, they are superb in every minute they are on screen, delivering immense monologues with a magnificent amount of skill.
Although they are directly addressing the audience, they don’t feel like actors putting on a show. Kelly’s direction assists with this, as he rarely changes camera angles during a scene, allowing for long takes that run for 5–10 minutes where the characters are speaking.
A movie with an hour and a half of non-stop talking could be grating or dull, but with dialogue this sharp, we are holding on to every word that comes out of the characters’ mouths. As a result, it’s captivating, engrossing, and energetic from start to finish.
This movie deals with a lot of emotions that audiences can relate to. It can feel crushingly real as they examine how the government and organizations mishandled the pandemic and caused grief among millions of people. It’s easily one of the better installments of pandemic cinema, giving audiences laughs while also being mature, and by the end of it all, optimistic.
Grade: ★★★✬☆ [7/10, B-]
Jonathan’s Tips: Watch this if you want something to relate to. Be wary of the delta variant. Also, if you love acting and monologuing, this movie is an absolute masterclass in that art. If you're a fan of James McAvoy, his skill is on full display here, and Horgan matches him at every level. It's amazing.
Together is now playing in theaters.