Our Friend Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

“Friends Forever” / Our Friend

Drama genre
Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Cast Casey Affleck (Matthew), Dakota Johnson (Nicole), Jason Segel (Dane), Jake Owen (Aaron), Gwendolyn Christie (Teresa), Dene Benton (Charlotte), Cherry Jones (Faith) and others.
Студии Black Bear Pictures, STX International, Scott Free Productions
Release year 2021
Site IMDb

The premiere of the film “Friends Forever” (Our Friend) took place back in 2019 at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was generally received quite well, and the film hit theaters as early as 2021.

At first glance, the tape seems like a heavy and tearful drama about a dying person – it is precisely such a sad movie that viewers who are not ready to take on their shoulders a two-hour burden of oppressive life circumstances, among which there is no place for a happy ending.

However, there’s one thing about Friends Forever that changes the film’s supposed stinging sludge into unexpectedly warm emotions. They become a reaction to an inspiring story about the value of friendship, which is learned in everyday life.

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The thing is that the script of the film is an adaptation of an article called The Friend: Love Is Not a Big Enough Word, which was published in 2015 by Esquire. The material was written by journalist Matthew Teague – he took care of his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer, for two years. Prior to this, Matthew worked as a reporter in the hottest spots of Pakistan and Somalia, but this could not be compared with what he had to go through at home, where his loved one was slowly dying. It was extremely difficult to cope with the physical and moral test, but Matthew was helped by a family friend who first came to visit for the holidays, and then stayed in Teague’s house, pushing all his affairs into the background.

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The “Friends Forever” tape gives a brief background about the acquaintance of the characters. And not about how a married couple fell in love with each other (Casey Affleck and Dakota Johnson), but about how a young family became close friends with an unsuccessful stand-up comedian (this role was played by actor Jason Segel). Further, the chronology of the film jumps between events from the past and the present, dividing the life of the characters into two stages: before and after they learned about the diagnosis. So we see the difference between a cheerful theater actress who loves to raise two children, and a tired prisoner of a disease that changes under the influence of potent drugs.

It should be noted that the scriptwriters of the film delicately omit the details from the article, in which the journalist describes the physical processes that occur with the body of his wife, and also do not get hung up on what happens in the last days before death (therefore, Matthew Teague’s text is much heavier and sadder, than its film adaptation).

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At the same time, the creators of the picture save all the most important moments, demonstrating the fatigue and impotence of the protagonist, to whom a friend comes to help. Daily support in ordinary household chores becomes the salvation of someone who must find the strength to accept the tragedy and take on the role of a single parent.

Interestingly, the character of Jason Segel is going through his own problems and personal crises (the scene with a trip to the canyons all alone briefly opens him from a new side), but it is thanks to this that he finds an opportunity to help others, sacrificing his personal life and actually becoming a full-fledged part of the family for his friends.

Unlike other drama films that deal with the terminal illnesses of the main characters, Friends Forever does not attempt to deliberately create tearful moments or elevate everyday drama to an unbearable degree of despair. Yes, this is a story about an inevitable goodbye, but there is room for encouraging moments that manifest themselves in understanding friendly support.

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What doesn’t work very well in the film is the ten-year difference between the past and the present, which is noticeable on the screen only in the state of the heroine Dakota Johnson. At times, Casey Affleck and Jason Segel look exhausted while playing younger versions of their characters, which can be confusing. True, over time this will no longer be evident – the most important scenes will be without flashbacks.

It is likely that the theme of the film “Friends Forever” will alienate many viewers, but for those who decide to watch, there is a rather life-affirming story about friendship that helped get through a long ordeal of illness.

Pros: delicate adaptation of the article into a feature film; there are no unnecessarily tearful moments in the film; the friendship of the characters is revealed in real everyday moments Cons: flashbacks are not always successful, since Casey Affleck and Jason Segel look the same everywhere Conclusion:

drama without unnecessary emotional anguish, where there is an encouraging story about friends who actually become a family, experiencing a loss.

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