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Together Together Another Smack At Surrogacy



Together  Together

Starring  Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro

Directed by  Nikole Beckwith

Rating: ** ½

 Far  less  aggressive  in tone than the other  new film  on  surrogate  motherhood Milkwater, this one sails  by  on the strength  of  its  sweetness  of tone. Luckily it is not sickly sweet but  acerbic sweet, as  middleaged  45-year  old  Matt(Ed Helms)  decides  to hire  20-something Anna (Patti Harrison) to be the  mother of his  child.

 There is  no aura of  self-projected fanfare in  the  mission.Unlike  Milkwater  where the  couple in the  contract were  constantly tense  Ed and Anna seem surprisingly comfortable  with one another. And  the  most cherishable  component in  their togetherness is their respect  for one another.

 At some point as the  first semester of pregnancy merges into the second, Matt begins  to act uncharacteristically  possessive.There is one particularly  distasteful sequence  where Matt sees a man coming out  of Anna’s residence and asks if  they slept together.  “I don’t like the idea of a stranger’s penis near my baby’s head,” he snarls.

 This  is  not the Matt we know.It’s just the writer trying to push a  cleverly cheesy line  into  the proceedings.  This  is  not the film we are made  to believe  Together Together to be. This is  about two people thrown together for an unconventional project,  getting to like each other.When   the plot stays  true to its mood it is  a pleasant watch. When the  protagonists begin to  lose their  selfcontrol it all begins to hurl into an implausible  space.

There is a family get-together , Matt’s family ,to celebrate the  impending arrival of the baby in  the family. Anna’s fish-out-of-water act  in the  sequence  just seems  too predictable to make  us feel for her isolation. The ending, though, is less predictable  with writer-director Nikole  Beckwith  leaving  the future course of Matt and Anna’s relationship open to our interpretation.

 I don’t see them coming together  to  raise  the baby.Anna seems too  fond of empty spaces to cradle the  clutter  of  motherhood.The two leads provide us  with ample  reason to like the film. They are actors who  know how to create  a sense  of   empathy in  the silences between  them. Julio Torres’ as Anna’s deadpan  gay pal Jules  is  likable. Jules’  friction with Matt  is something worth  looking into. Does Jules resent the violation of his  friendship with Anna or does he  baulk at  the  thought  of a heterosexual opting for surrogacy?

The answers  , my friend, are  blowin’ in  the windpipe.

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