TOGETHER TOGETHER (2021) (NETFLIX)
SYNOPSIS: When young loner Anna is hired as the gestational surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s who wants a child, the two strangers come to realize this unexpected relationship will quickly challenge their perceptions of connection, boundaries and the particulars of love.
The provision of surrogate services is currently illegal in Singapore which explains why the subject for better or worse is little or practically unheard of here. Together Together is an indie drama about surrogacy and how two worldly different people get together as they navigate their tricky relationship.
Matt (Ed Helms from The Hangover trilogy), a single successful apps developer in his 40’s is keen to start a family so he engaged the services of a 26-year-old Anna (Patti Harrison) to be his surrogate. Matt gets a bit overprotective as the day goes as he tries to micromanage what Anna eats, constantly bringing her pregnancy tea and stopping her from having sex.
Despite their disagreements, the two lonely souls hang out together most of their free time watching “Friends” or simply, picking a colour for the nursery, going for their therapy sessions, hospital checkups and crib shopping. If you think where this movie is heading to then perhaps you might be wrong.
Together Together is not so much a romantic romcom but somewhat a subdued look at a platonic relationship. Matt is the typical nerdy nice guy who somehow fails in the romance department. Anna is more complicated in a way. She needs the money to continue her university studies and she is estranged from her own family for having a child when she was much younger.
Writer-director Nikole Beckwith touches on several interesting themes and topics including friendship, social expectations and privilege although she is merely scratching the surface through mild jokes and tension. We hardly know the real reason behind Matt’s intention to have a kid or Anna’s view on love. Even a baby shower scene seems kind of forced. Fortunately, she has Helms and Harrison to keep the flawed drama from being overly bored and pretentious.
Helms is excellent as the middle-age, awkward (likely sad as well) man who is still trying to find his place in our society as a soon-to-be single father. He seems destined to be playing the fumbling character and of course, he is the perfect Matt opposite the scene-stealing Patti Harrison whom to the uninitiated is a transgender actress portraying a cisgender character. Maybe it’s time we judge people based solely on their talents.
Other than that amusing conversation about Woody Allen films, Together Together is comfortable being a modest dramedy about parenthood and love. There’s nothing ground-breaking given the subject matter and the only consolation is the chemistry between Helms and Pattinson.
Review by Linus Tee