Progressive but awkward surrogate comedy has crude language.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Together Together is a lighthearted but sometimes emotional look at the experience of being a gestational surrogate. It offers positive, counter-stereotypical gender representation: The main characters are Matt (Ed Helms), a man who dreams of being a parent, and Anna (Patti Harrison), a woman who doesn't. She has a fairly mature outlook on carrying a baby to term for someone else, but she still faces internal struggles around her role as a temporary partner to Matt, which hopefully will help make it clear that surrogacy isn't just an easy way to make money. Anna's ambivalence about having previously placed a baby with an adoptive family after getting pregnant as a teen could be distressing for foster or adopted kids. But the storytelling stands out for its authenticity on so many fronts, including characters who are diverse across categories of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. Be ready for a frank scene in which Anna coaches Matt on how to teach a future daughter to insert a tampon. Language is occasionally strong ("s--tty," "f--king") and includes a couple of instances of crude terminology for sexual situations ("d--k pic," "sit on my face"). There's a little drinking and an extended discussion about having sex during pregnancy.
Lovely unique story
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What's the Story?
Single and in his 40s, Matt (Ed Helms) moves forward with his dreams of fatherhood by hiring 26-year-old surrogate Anna (Patti Harrison). As these two strangers embark on the intimate nine-month journey of having a baby, the emotional complications of maintaining boundaries and the blurry line of friendship unfold for a couple who are not TOGETHER TOGETHER.
Is It Any Good?
Up-and-coming filmmaker Nikole Beckwith's comedy should be recognized for its cinematic progressiveness, even if it's somewhat lacking as a piece of entertainment. Diversity is realized in unexpectedly wonderful ways in Together Together, which offers representations that feel more authentic than those usually seen in mainstream movies and TV shows. Imagine the impact it might have if more movies showed men worrying about their biological clocks and taking active steps to start a family. That's not an uncommon experience; it only feels that way because we so rarely see it portrayed that way in pop culture. Helms brings it all to life in a believably real manner. Matt made his money in tech, but he's not a gazillionaire. He was in a relationship for eight years, and then it ended. No one was awful, no one cheated, and he doesn't have angry feelings to process; it just didn't work out. This, too, is a responsible message to put into the world: You don't have to put all your eggs (in this case, almost literally) in the available basket if you know it's not right.
The film's comedy lies in the discomfort of the situation. Some moments are cringey, but Matt and Anna are both uneasy in their own skin and not entirely sure of their life's path. So they take bold actions to ensure that they achieve one big thing they really want. For Matt, that's a family. For Anna, it's a better future. Once you get past the story's reliance on nervous laughter, Matt and Anna's quirky but authentic relationship starts to warm your soul. Their characters are so well developed that their journey and boundary-crossing moments ring true, like Anna spending the night at Matt's so he can feel her belly in the middle of the night. All of that said, the ending may leave you feeling shortchanged. No doubt, it's part of Beckwith's storytelling strategy, but it's still unfulfillling.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the ways in which the characters in Together Together are diverse. Which groups are represented? Which aren't? Why is representation in the media important?
What makes Matt's character an example of positive, counter-stereotypical gender representation? What impact do you think it would have if more movies and TV shows told stories with men who are driven to start a family and women whose goals include more than becoming a mother?
What does this movie have to say about love? Can you think of other movies that focus on the platonic love between men and women?
What do you think surrogates might experience physically and emotionally beyond just providing a temporary home for a growing fetus? What ethical concerns might arise?
- In theaters: April 23, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: May 11, 2021
- Cast: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro
- Director: Nikole Beckwith
- Studio: Bleecker Street
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Character Strengths: Communication
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some sexual references and language
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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Predictable romcom explores mature aspects of parenting.
For kids who love offbeat comedies
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