How lucky for ‘Together Together’s’ writer/director, Nikole Beckwith, who also produced, that her film was a giant hit at Sundance Film Festival. Not bad for someone who only has two directing gigs listed on IMDB.
She struck gold again when it fell into the hands of Bleecker Street for distribution. I’m delighted for her. Anyway, the movie starts with a man in his early forties, Matt (Ed Helms), interviewing Anna (Patti Harrison), a young woman in her twenties. You don’t know why. The questions are quite personal, about religious beliefs and such, something not asked in an interview for a job, so if you’re unaware of what the film is about, you’re not going to understand what’s going on. She gives details about why she gave up a child when she was a teenager. Even with that, you may still be a little lost. That is until you see ‘First Trimester’ scroll across the screen.
Cleverly, we’re told that he has been interviewing women to be a surrogate for him. Anna gets selected and the $15,000 she’ll receive to be the mother of Matt’s child, Anna accepts the offer. When she had a child before, she wasn’t planning on keeping it, so letting a baby go isn’t anything new. No problem.
When she finds out, his mother asks if Anna is single, perhaps hoping that they’ll hook up. She isn’t too excited about the news as she believes in the traditional way of bringing up a child. That would be, one man and one woman… together. Does she give him a harder time over the fact that he isn’t married or that he has chosen to have a child on his own? You decide which when you watch. His father, by the way, is nothing but supportive. Speaking of supportive, so is Matt, of Anna. He’s very involved in the pregnancy, making sure she eats well and takes the proper vitamins. He’s continually getting in Anna’s business and still ‘interviewing’ her. He wants to know who she is so he’ll have an idea what kind of person his child will ultimately become. This isn’t easy because she doesn’t want to know anything about him or the child she’s giving up. He even shows her the baby’s nursery, something that crosses a line in her book, but she puts up with it. This storyline fascinated me. They’re not together, together… but he’s always there, like a partner. As the film moves on, you see the compassion behind his gestures. At first, they seem so irritating and oppressive, after a while, you see they’re rather moving.
This entire cast is outstanding. Harrison is transgendered, but if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t see it from her appearance here. Ed Helms will drive you crazy a few times with his questions and the eventual demands he tries to make of her. He doesn’t agree that she should be able to have sex. He explains that he doesn’t want a random penis near his unborn child, as if that would injure it or something. It’s here when we’re introduced to the incredible tech, Jean, played by the very talented Sufe Bradshaw, performing their ultrasound. The dialogue they have with her is quite amusing. So is her attitude about their relationship. I don’t want to tell you much more. I want you to see this comedy because who made it, did so with love for the subject and people who need this type of service. This is something very clear as you watch. The ending happens quickly, which I didn’t expect, but it makes sense as to why. You need to decide where the story goes from there.
**‘Together Together’ will be On Demand and Digital on May 11th, 2021
**Below is a list of theaters in Phoenix playing the film starting tomorrow:
Deer Valley 30
Mesa Grand 24
Camelview at Fashion Square
Harkins Northterra 14
Superstation Springs 25
Director: Nikole Beckwith
Writers: Nikole Beckwith
Stars: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres, Anna Konkle, Timm Sharp, Evan Jonigkeit, Rosalind Chao, Sufe Bradshaw, Greta Titelman, Nora Dunn, Fred Melamed
Running Time: 1h 30m
Produced by: Anthony Brandonisio, Tim Headington and Daniela Taplin Lundberg