Our Friend

When it counts

When a woman (Dakota Johnson, in a career best) gets the news that her cancer has proven untreatable and that she has only six months left to live, her and her husband’s (Casey Affleck, solid as usual) longtime friend (Jason Segel, anchoring the movie) drops by to help out, eventually putting his own life on hold and moving into their house. 

Okay, it’s a cancer-girl movie, which are easy to criticize as being manipulative and sappy. But this extremely well-acted movie eschews melodrama. To help us understand these characters, it relies on a complex mosaic of flashbacks, which can be frustrating but works here. And tragedy aside, this small-scale, true-life, human story is notable for its attention to the details of going about daily life in such a situation. 

It’s not perfect, but it’s good where it counts. And anyway, it’s not really about cancer (see title). Nice use of Led Zeppelin’s music. (124 min)