“Together” Is The COVID Movie No One Asked For, But It’s Fairly Enjoyable

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Like previously with 9/11, the Vietnam war and WWII, as soon as a universal crisis occurs—in this case, COVID-19—Hollywood finds a way to produce a project off it as soon as possible. Stephen Daldry’s new small scale drama, Together, is set entirely inside the house of a family coming to terms with how they feel about each other throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Naturally, one would assume it’s way too soon for a pandemic-set drama when we’re still recovering as a society from the past year and a half. And there is a bit of that a few times in the film. But Together is a romance and family drama above all else.

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Taking place in a UK suburban neighborhood, ‘He’ (James McAvoy), ‘She’ (Sharon Horgan) and their quiet, 10-year-old son Artie (Samuel Logan) are stuck at home during the early weeks of social distancing and lockdowns. Almost instantly the parents are given a stark, up-close realization that they have hardly anything in common anymore, as their differences and pet peeves with each other are now heightened when forced to only be in the same location. He is a conservative leaning entrepreneur, while She is a more progressive charity worker. For the next year, they experience extreme emotions, arguments, confessions and family tragedy in the midst of modern history occurring.

 
 
 
 
 
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Together is nearly an exercise in the audience’s tolerance and endurance of 90 minutes of two characters shouting and venting at each other. I saw this movie with only three other people inside my screening, and I was the only one who stayed in the theater for the whole runtime. It is very stagey and claustrophobic like a dramatic play, to the point where I would assume this would have just been a stage production if public events weren’t so cautious nowadays. So there’s no shock to learn Daldry and Together’s screenwriter—Dennis Kelly—also have equal success in theatre.

 
 
 
 
 
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Another play aspect is when He and She aren’t taking shots at each other verbally, they’re breaking 4th wall to speak directly to audience for entire monologues or shared stories. This blend of Ferris Bueller meeting an Ingmar Bergman classic comes close to insufferable more than once. The virus aspect is both fascinating and frustrating as it’s current, but it also feels like forever ago since March 2020 occurred.

McAvoy and Horgan are good actors and their performances are impressive, especially as the sole center of attention for a whole hour and a half. The moral and messages of the story regarding the characters’ feelings about their relationship as well as the growing progression of the pandemic are a bit muddled and inconsistent by the end. Though one could also argue this is realistic to both life and the past year’s events.

 
 
 
 
 
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Overall, there isn’t technically anything wrong with Together. It’s well directed, definitely well acted and has a decent script. Yet I don’t particularly feel the need for a second viewing either. Interestingly, Together was actually produced and released as a TV movie in its native UK back in June, but given a legitimate theatrical release in the US for the end of summer. I think that’s a pretty good hint to look out for this one when it hits streaming.

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