Writer-director Nikole Beckwith has pulled off a remarkable feat. Her new film Together Together is one of the years’ best rom-coms, despite not being a rom-com.
Although this indie dramedy hits all your standard rom-com beats, there’s no sex, romance, or mutual attraction between its two charming leads. Instead, Beckwith’s intimate and empathetic tale serves as a paean to platonic love.
When Matt (Ed Helms) and Anna (Patti Harrison) enter each others’ lives, their relationship is purely transactional. Matt, a middle-aged app developer with no relationship prospects, desperately wants to be a father. After a lengthy weeding-out process, he hires 26-year-old Anna as his surrogate. Anna is no social butterfly. She’s ok with keeping Matt at a distance until giving birth and then cutting ties with him and the baby.
Matt is so gung-ho about the pregnancy that he can’t help but insert himself into Anna’s life. Although his antics come off as off-putting at first, he means well. Before long, their fledgling relationship evolves into more than a contractual obligation.
We’re all unique people with distinct wants and needs. Yet, most cultures treat romantic love like the only way to live a meaningful existence. Too many societies share the notion that you’ve failed at life if you’re not married with kids. Finding a romantic partner isn’t the only path to self-actualization.
As a child, nobody read me fairy tales about princes and princesses becoming best friends, but someone should have. My generation could have used a lot more stories like Frozen. To grow and keep evolving throughout our lives, we require different types of relationships, from different types of people, at different points in our lives. Tying all ones’ hopes and aspirations together with finding a soulmate stifles personal growth.
Sometimes what we really need isn’t a long-term partner, but a short-term pal. Granted, Matt paying Anna for 9-months of her time is an extreme example.
In reality, this short-term pal may be a co-worker, neighbour, or mentor – anyone who has a profound impact on you during a short period in your life. Some friendships only last a few weeks, a few months, or a few years, but that doesn’t make the experience any less meaningful.
Some of my most cherished relationships were with people who fluttered in and out of my life leaves on the autumn breeze. Considering that most people I know have similar stories, it’s odd how often these types of meaningful relationships take a backseat to sex and romance on the big screen. Shout out to Nikole Beckwith for celebrating this essential type of love story.
I’m thrilled that a movie like Together Together even exists. How many times have you seen a movie about people falling into non-romantic love? Not often, I’m guessing. I’m impressed by the many subtle ways this film reminds us that short-lived relationships can leave a long-term impact on who we are. What I love best of all is that Together Together tells folks to chase their bliss – cultural norms be damned.