“What if I ran away and joined a cult?”
“I guess I would have to join too”
“What if I were exactly like me except I had really terrible halitosis?”
“I would get you a mint. Or I would destroy the olfactory receptors in my nose so that I didn’t care.”
“What if I die?”
“I would never recover.”
Title: Irreplaceable You
Directed by: Stephanie Liang
Screenplay by: Bess Wohl
Themes: Love, grief
Hi! I’ll be posting film reviews every once in a while. These are honest thoughts about the films, but I won’t be touching on technicalities so much, like cinematography or color grading. There are a million film reviews for that. Let’s talk about stories. ❤️️
First of all, aren’t you grateful for Netflix? Because I am! I spent my Monday morning crying over one of its new original films – Irreplaceable You.
Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Michiel Huisman) were both young when they first fell in love. At the film’s present, they are grown-up and living in Manhattan, engaged to be married and expecting a kid. We are introduced to their personalities right away – it appears that Abbie is headstrong and calls the shots in the relationship. Sam is quiet and happy to let Abbie do what she wants. I quickly grow fond of their dynamic at the beginning – two people who are so in sync it doesn’t matter whose hands are on the wheels.
If it sounds like I do not know what I am talking about, maybe it’s because I really don’t, inexperienced girl over here 😂
Kidding aside, it felt very endearing to watch two people navigate life’s cruel turns. Their perfect-ness is instantly shattered by a diagnosis; turns out, she’s not carrying a baby, but several fruit-like cancerous tumors, and she is dying.
3/4 of the film is about her upcoming death. Personally, I haven’t experienced a loved one dying. I do not know what grief is like, so I do not have any grounds by which to say if they portrayed grief well. Abbie makes several decisions to prepare Sam for her death. You see, Sam can’t match his socks and forgets where he places his glasses. He hasn’t dated anybody because he’s always loved Abbie. And this terrified her. She thinks Sam can’t live without her.
If there is anything I saw that stuck with me, it’s this – that even in a perfect relationship, at the end of the day, you two are still individuals, with individual hopes, dreams, decision-making abilities, emotions, all that. You don’t cease to be yourself when you’re in love, you just adjust to accommodate another person. By choice. Because you love each other.
This is why Abbie’s overbearing tendencies became harmful for Sam, because Sam is not Abbie part 2. Or just Abbie’s other half. Sam is Sam and he is whole in and of himself. When Abbie dies, Sam is not gonna die. He’s gonna live on and maybe grow old and make decisions without Abbie. He’s eventually gonna learn to match his own socks.
Abbie lets this go and just enjoys her remaining days with Sam. This is where love grows best. When we surrender, lay our weapons down, let go of our molds and expectations. Control can suffocate, you know. Even space can encourage growth.
But again, what do I know? 😉
This is a film about what ifs – both spoken in playful banter and unspoken in the form of fear. This is also about what is – the adamant refusal of two people to let tomorrow steal away what life gives today. This is also about what was, a celebration of love that transcends everything, even cancer, even loss, even death.
Is this movie spectacular? A show-stopper? A surefire box-office hit? No, not really.
Is it tender, heartwarming, real? Absolutely.
My rating: One pair of monogamous Angler Fish 💛💛💛💛
Catch this film on Netflix.
Is there a movie you want to me to babble about? Leave a comment!