Coming from director Stephen Daldry and Bleeker Street comes a story of a couple just trying to keep it TOGETHER.
The city of London has just learned that it is about to be lockdown due to Covid-19. Bringing in their own stockpile of toilet paper and other sundries, he (James McAvoy) begins the conversation with her (Sharon Horgan) about it all. Son Arthur (Samuel Logan), or Artie depending on which parent is talking about him, is taking it all in.
Both are thinking of their jobs as she is a refugee coordinator and responsible for helping to take care of an aging mother. He has his own business that can be done from home even though he worries about his employees. Their time together slowly brings out issues that have gone unresolved in their relationship.
As the days wear on, so do the jabs, one-liners, truths, beards, man-buns and stories of when things started to take a turn in the marriage. But also, in the months that have worn on, like with so many others, quarantining is forcing decisions to be made and hardships to be endured.
It is a day-by-day effort to find the truth about themselves.
McAvoy as He is absolutely stunning in this role. He sets up his character with the back-and-forth witty repartee with his wife instead of addressing the real issues. Well, the pandemic had other plans forcing him to come to terms with feelings he long ignored for the sake of their son. McAvoy explains his character as “he can not help but be in love with her. His performance is flawless, his long talks with the audience are filled with everything you need to know about the couple and bring a mixture of sadness and a few chuckles. These two people are inextricably enmeshed. How they feel about each other is so tangible, so intense, funny, surprising, hateful, compassionate, caring and utterly transformative at times.”
Horgan as She lets the words fly out as easily as her husband. Filled with wit and, at times, dripping with distain, she gives as good as she gets. That does not mean their history has gone without damage and She is not about to let her voice be silenced. In the mix of that is the pain of loss on so many levels and Horgan lets us feel it along with her. Horgan says of her character, “It was not as hard as I feared to find the anguish. In a way, we were reliving parts of our own lives through those characters, and it was all there for the taking. There were not many moments where I was worried, I was not going to feel the emotion. When Dennis writes, he can break your heart.”
Bleeker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.
Dennis Kelly wrote the screenplay for TOGETHER and says, “The heart of the story is their relationship. Many people have had similar experiences during the pandemic, but this particular couple simply cannot stand each other. I doubt they’ve really spoken in about ten years. They can’t even agree on their son’s first name. They are just not the kind of people who should be together, and lockdown is the worst thing that could possibly happen to them.”
Director Daldry says of the reality of it all, “Inevitably you go through the process of questioning yourself, your relationships, your family and the world. As we continue to emerge out of this extraordinary period of history, it seems important to commemorate the eighteen months we’ve all been through. Doing a piece about a couple that struggles to endure was a cathartic experience for me and I hope for people watching it as well.”
The extraordinary thing about the film TOGETHER is that there was ten days of rehearsal and a ten-day shoot. Because the scenes are kept within the house of the couple, we all can relate to what four walls can do. Their home is an outward view of what has been going on prior to the quarantine and it becomes even more disorganized as the couple’s emotions and feelings do.
Speaking of four walls, McAvoy has the opportunity to break that fourth wall when he invites us into the problems. Speaking directly to us, the story has the opportunity to let us see both sides of their pain and even the biting humor that has kept the couple together for so long. Talking it out there are moments where they believe it will all be okay but in reality, they need to dive deeper because that’s where they have shoved it all for years.
TOGETHER is a film that you can not turn away from, every moment has something to say about staying together, trying to keep a family front, being totally different from one another in what they want and being forced together for an undetermined amount of time in a confined place.
Sound familiar? I love this movie.
In the end – no one said pandemics were easy!