Three adults used to be best friends. Two are now a couple and the woman has cancer. They both get support from the third friend, a man. The friend stops his life and moves into the couples family home. He brings a thirst for life that they both needed. It is an uplifiting story. The awesome cast includes: Jason Segel as Dane Faucheux, Dakota Johnson as Nicole Teague, Casey Affleck as Matt Teague, Isabella Kai as Molly Teague (as Isabella Kai Rice), Violet McGraw as Evie Teague, John McConnell as Glenn Hattaway, Jeronimo Spinx as Colleague #1 (as Jerome Spinx), Denée Benton as Charlotte, Jake Owen as Aaron, Jason Bayle as Rick Bragg, Sampley Barinaga as Kenny, Marielle Scott as Kat, Lane Alexander as Elf Valet, Ahna O'Reilly as Gale and Paige King as Veterinarian.
Starts off with a view of a beach at dusk. Three kids are playing with a fish net. We cut to a town landscape. The text reads "Fairhope, Alabama". We then cut to outside a house where Dane (played by the charasmatic Jason Segel) is telling two little girls (Molly and Evie played by Isabella Kai and Violet McGraw) a song ".. racoons get scared of very loud songs... but quiet songs they really like... that’s the type of song they really enjoy...".
"Inside the house Matt (played by reliable Casey Affleck) says to his sick wife Nicole (played by the beautiful Dakota Johnson) whose in bed 'Was there a way you wanted to do this?'. She replies 'I think we just be honest. Um Karen gave me a list of words to avoid... So we don’t leave the door open for the girls'. He says 'Do you remember what they are?'. She says "I wrote them down on the paper on the dresser". Matt is very stressed. He reads the paper 'Mami’s going to sleep. Mami’s going on vacation. Mami’s going away for a while... do you want to do the talking?'. She replies 'I think you should do the talking... alright I’ll bring them in'. Matt cries and says 'God damn this thing... I don’t know If I can do it'. Nicole says 'I’m scared too... these are my babies'. We see a shot of Nicole who has a bandana on. It’s a very intense and impactful introduction. You feel for these parents"
We cut to Dane waiting outside in the porch on a swinging chair. He has his hands together thinking. He can hear tears inside. Then we see a long shot of the house. Then the title sequence appears "Our Friend". We then cut to a top view of suburbia. We see the text "New Orleans... 13 years earlier". We see Matt and Nicole in the shower. Matt says "They’re gonna say the greatest living Theatre actress known to man". Nicole says "Your gonna be nice to Dane?". "The asshole who asked you out?" says Matt. "He’s not an asshole and he didn’t know I was married, will you be nice?" says Nicole. She says he has to find new friends, not just work friends.
Matt goes to work in the morning. At work Matt talks to his boss. He wants a juicy story to write but the boss won’t give it to him. His boss says "It’s Friday tee I’ve been tired of you since wednesday". He sits down and answers his phone.
"The voice on the other line says 'Matthew this is a Rick Brag calling from the New York Times…. Did you write this feature Long Way Home... It's a masterful piece of writing'. Matt says 'Ummm Well Thank you sir… that means a lot coming from you'. Rick says 'Well earned... well earned... listen when can you make it to the Times office here in Atlanta because I need you hear to lick my asshole... hahaha'. Matt looks at a cubicle near by... he knows the call is coming from inside, it’s a prank call from his silly work buddies. He throws a squishy ball at them. The phone caller buddy says "Oh man... You should have seen your face! Hahaha" say his friends. It's a funny scene but you know Matt is pissed off at his buddies. This is the first of the small number of comedic moments in this serious drama film. These comedic moments cut the tension well"
We cut to a theatre production rehearsal. Dane and Nicole are sitting together at the back of the rehearsal. Dane has made a music mix for Nicole. They laugh. "I’m gonna ask Charlotte out tonight" says Dane. They chat about a party last night. Nicole says Charlotte would be perfect for him. "You don’t think she’s too pretty for me?" says Dane. The Nicole says "I don’t like when you talk yourself down like that". Then Nicole chats to Charlotte and Charlottee says "I'm not into Dane". Charlotte is interested in another guy and she wants to let Dane down easy. She asks Nicole for help. We cut to the final theatre production. There is an after party. Nicole is there with Dane and her husband Matt. Dane is pissed off at Charlotte. "Fair enough she\’s not into me hands but do his hands have to be superglued to her ass like that?". Nicole gets them another drink and leaves. Dane apologises to Matt for asking Nicole out and he says "I just want you to know that I had no idea you guys were married".
Matt says "It’s fine". Dane says it’s cool that Matt writes for the local paper. Matt says "It’s nice when people have read my paper". Although Dane says "I haven’t read anything you’ve written..." hehehe. Matt says he’d like to write features that have an impact. Dane says he likes stand up comedy. Dane says he needs to get a pen and a pad... hehehe. "That’s funny" says Matt heheh.
"Gotta get out of my parents basement first says Dane. The two of them drink at the table. They are getting along. Matt says "Hey man... If you ever hear of other guys asking her out over and over...". Then Dane says "I’ll take them out back... I’ll string them up by their nutsacks... no I’’ll make sure they know that she’s ah... she’s married". Matt laughs. This is a funny scene. You realise that Dane is a bit of slacker that does odd jobs, he's not the most successful guy out there".
Then Matt receives a phone call by the real Rick Brag, the New York Times guy. Rick says "Matthew Teag? This is Rick Brag New York Times... I just finished your piece on the Late Charles Tornado... I think your worth saving... next time your in Atlanta... stop by my office". Matt tells Nicole. Then Matt faints Due to the excitement. Nicole tells Dane that Matt faints when he gets nervous. He has to leave by car in the morning. He goes to shake Dane’s hand but he faints again hehe. Then we cut to Matt driving at night to Atlanta. We see his car lights on a main road. Inside the car Matt is excited and Making WooHoo noises. H He’s in a good mood.
We then cut to Matt in a hospital sitting on a seat slumping, he’s tired. We see the text "December 2012 Year of diagnosis". We cut to Dane’s workplace at night. The building header says "Red Beards Outfitter" (it's an outdoor store). Dane is in front of his computer. A person knocks on the door. It’s his girlfriend Kat (played by the beautiful Marielle Scott). Kat says "I thought you could use a meal before you took off". Dane says "Matt fainted in the hospital... he’s been taking care of Nicole on his own for 6 months... he’s tired". Kat gives Dane a present. Dane opens the medium box. It’s an expensive shirt. She says there is something else in the box. It’s the keys to her apartment "That’s to my apartment" Kat says. "This is like a big step" says Dane. "Yeah but it’s a good step" says Kat. Dane kisses Kat passionately. It’s Christmas.
We cut to Dane driving in his car. He arrives at Matt’s house. The babysitter is there. She is a friend of the family. Dane arrives to take care of the girls. The house stinks as the dog has pooped on the floor hehe. Dane quickly picks up the poop with a piece of paper. Dane takes the girls for a car ride. Dane is taking Gracie (their dog) to the Vet. Dane holds Gracie the dog at the Vet.
"He calls Matt who is at the hospital "Hey man I’m just gonna say it... the vet thinks that we should put Gracie down tonight... she has cancer". Matt throws his phone on the ground. Even before this scene you really feel for Matt. But this is the icing on the cake. Poor Matt, his dog also has cancer. Things have gone from bad to worse. But Dane is there. Dane is there for Matt. That’s what the audience notices. Casey Affleck does a phenomenal performance as a father who faces multiple problems"
Dane then arrives at the hospital with the girls. Nicole has been transferred to a new hospital room. Nicole hugs her kids and they giggle. Matt chats to Dane. "I haven’t told Molly about Gracie" says Dane. Matt is down trodden and tired. I think Dane notices this.
"This is a pivotal moment in this film. Dane realises that Matt is snowed under and super stressed. Dane says "Will it help If I stayed... for a while... you don’t need to do this alone if you don’t want to... I could ah... I have some vacation days... I could come and help out... I could help you get to the other side of this…". Matt says "Yeah... great... we’d love to have you". "There’s a B&B near our house" jokes Matt to Dane hehehe. At this point you realise that Dane is a great man. The audience absolutely admires Dane from this point forward. Jason Segal is starting to grow on me as a fine actor. I’m used to seeing him in comedies but this performance starts to look special from this point on"
We cut to the family home. Matt and Nicole and the kids on the bed. We see Dane setting up his bed. Dane is in the kitchen and asks who makes the sandwiches in the morning.
"I’m using mayonnaise and mustard… is that how your dad does it.". Molly says "Dad used to make them... I’ve been Making them... I also make dinner and make sure I shower Evie". "I can make them.,. I was hoping that from now on you can call me Grandma Dane... Molly... excuse me... sure what?". "Sure I’ll call you ok Grandma Dane hehe" says Molly. We realise in this scene that the kids are also sad and stressed out"We cut to the car and Dane is driving with the girls out the back. They lip sync to the song. Back at home and neighbours Are leaving plates of food and greeting cards on the doorstep to help out Nicole.
Dane drops off the girls at school. Evie says hello to her little friends. We cut to the family home at night. Dane is chatting to Kat via iPad.
"Dane says "I wanted to look nice for you... by the way I can see your not looking at me. I want to make sure Matt gets back on his feet". Kat says "I just want to make sure your taking care of yourself... I Know you can get... well... waiting for you... I love you a lot". Dane says "I love you too". At this point you start feeling for Kat. She has to be apart from Dane for long stretches. Sure, he’s doing a kind thing but you can tell there is a strain on their relationship during this subtle dialogue"
We see text "Summer 2008 - Four years before diagnosis". Matt is overseas in Pakistan as a journalist. He is in a transport vehicle. We cut to Matt’s hotel room on his laptop talking to Nicole. Matt says The Atlantic newpaper Offered him a job but he has to go overseas. Nicole is a bit upset but Matt says "We need the money". Nicole didn’t want to be a single mother. Matt says it’s been a long day and he wants to chat tomorrow. We cut to Matt discussing life with Elizabeth (a journalist friend). Elizabeth flirts with Matt in the elevator. She wants him. But Matt says "Goodnight Elizabeth".
We cut to the beach and Nicole and Charlotte are their with other friends. Charlotte is pregnant. After everybody leaves Charlotte sits next to Nicole on beach reclining chairs. Nicole says to Charlotte "Your my best friend". We then cut Dane at Nicole’s home practicing his stand up comedy. "It’s pretty scary to up here, I’ve got a Friend whose being wanting to try stand up... but ahhh he’s a little chicken..." says Dane whilst holding up a little rubber chicken hehe. Again, perfectly placed comedy. "When does Matt get back" says Dane. Nicole tells Dane that he comes back for a little while then he goes back overseas. She is not happy. Dane also recently broke up with a girl but their is another girl called "Kat" that he’s going to ask out. "Don’t be afraid to give yourself up to someone Dane... promise me" says Nicole.
We cut to the airport and Matt has arrived. The kids are there. We then cut to a park fair. Dane, Nicole and Matt are eating some food. Evie gets into an accident and Nicole and Matt argue.
"Dane has a chat to Matt 'Don’t take the Atlantic assignment... stick around... be with the girls... Be with Nicole". Matt says 'we need the money... you think I should be taking life advice from you?'. Dane says 'I’m your best friend asshole and I can point out your shitty qualities... your moody, your selfish, Your distant'. Matt jives Dane and says 'Coming from someone as successful as you are... I'll take it under advisement... As far back as I can remember... you’ve always dreamed of selling discount hockey gear...'. hehe. They joke around but they are somewhat pissed off with each other. Matt is now best friends with Dane but they sometimes get on each others nerves as most friends do"
We see text "Spring 2013 - One year since diagnosis". Matt, Dane and Evie are walking around A grocery store. Matt says that Nicole only wants to eat mayonnaise these days hehe. Dane asks "How come Nicole’s parents come down and help out just out of curiosity". Matt says "Well they don’t know how sick Nicole really is... she puts on her blonde wig... she runs around and prepares food.. and everybody feels great... then she collapses for three days".
"Then Dane asks 'Have you told them about the affair'. Mattt then says 'once we agreed that we’re gonna make it work… we wouldn't tell friends or family'. This further complicates things. You realise that outside of Nicole’s cancer that Matt and her had traditional relationship problems. How sad"
We cut to a house Party at Matt’s house. They are playing charades. In the kitchen Nicole shows Matt a cake that Kat made. Matt wants Nicole to take a break and rest.
"Nicole's cancer also has an effect on her brain and mood. Nicole replies 'I don’t want to play charades from the F* couch. Would you rather me just lock myself in my room all day long... would that be easier for you… would you like that better... god'. Matt is left in the kitchen by Himself frustrated. He was only trying to take care of her... but she is angry perhaps because she is losing her independence. You feel for both of them. Great acting by Dakota Johnson, it’s very realistic. Her best performance yet I think"
We cut to Dane and Kat at a restaurant. They are in the courtyard. Kat says "Cooper had a birthday Party... we did a pub crawl... everybody was asking about you". Dane says "Sorry I wasn’t there...". "Have you talked to Steve about work? Or..." says Kat. "I think they’re gonna take me off the schedule" says Dane. Kat then says "So when you get back you can look for something more permanent. Your not gonna work at Red Beards the rest of your life?". Dane gets a little bit upset and says "Would that be a problem?". Then Dane says we’ll talk it out next time.
"Kat says 'Is there going to be a next time?... You’ve been gone for three months now... you did come back for a weekend... so you can grab More stuff to come here?... I thought that you would come back for a couple of weeks... what changed?'. Then Dane 'What changed is I got here… and I saw that one person can’t do this job... in between the girls and Nicole’s medicine and chemo... Matt can’t do this on his own'. Kat then says her family are talking 'What kind of person gives up his entire life... his job... his life... I'd say someone whose running from something'. Kat is upset. I think this conversation was inevitable given the plot. I really liked the tension here. Marielle Scott as Kat does a wonderful job here. She has been neglected, plain and simple and makes Dane feel it. We see a final shot of them arguing from afar. Cool camera shot"
Dane returns to the house and chats to Matt and Nicole. "Kat is looking for more of a commitment than I’m Ready to give her" says Dane. Then Nicole says that "at your age if your heart isn't in it you just have to tell her". Dane says "It’s not that simple... why do you have to be so self righteous all the time?". "I’m not self righteous... you need to grow up Dane" says Nicole. Dane is touchy feely about his relationship and slams his bedroom door shot.
At night we hear Nicole yelping and she is agony. Matt helps her up and together they leave for the hospital. We cut to the hospital waiting chars. Dane, Molly and Matt are sitting down. The doctor Wants to talk to Matt and so he leaves with him. Dane jokes around with Molly "Why are you so hard On your dad?". Molly says that he has never been around and now he’s bossy. Dane makes jokes And Molly smiles.
"The doctor says the Chemo is not working, the cancer is terminal. The doctor Doesn’t want to give time lies but he suggests six months. "With a combination of the Z’s and the drugs... your going to see things from Nicole... that you have never see before... confusion... Anger... lashing out" says the doctor. The doctor gives Matt the details of a nurse type woman that can assist him. Matt is devastated. Casey Affleck’s demenour and body language in this scene is expertly crafted. This scene and other scenes revolving around Nicole’s cancer feel more like a documentary than a movie. Such is the realism"
We cut to Nicole’s hospital room. Dane and the girls walk in. She can go home now. The girls Went to the wrong room and they were lost. Nicole comforts them. She tells them to close their eyes and imagine her in front of them when they feel bad. We cut to Nicole walking around Her neighbourhood. Then inside Nicole chats to Matt and Dane. "We’re not going to tell the girls I’m dying yet" Nicole says. She wants to make a bucket list and write some letters to the girls for certain milestones in their life like first boyfriend, wedding day, first baby. Nicole wants to have blue hair and go to the Mardi Gras and New York to see Les Miserables. She also Wants to see Katy Perry. Matt is left chatting to Dane. "It all seems very doable... except for the Katy Perry part" says Matt laughing.
The girls and Nicole dye Dane’s hair blue. Matt and Dane organise her final activities. There is a rock soundtrack to this part of the movie that’s cool. Nicole reads to the girls. They Go on boats and paddle on the beach. We cut to the Mardi Gras and Nicole is grand Marshall and throws streams of paper to crowd. We then see Nicole looking at the girls laughing with Dane and Matt. We then seen text "Fall 2010 - Two years before diagnosis". We cut to a dinner party. Matt says Random House Wants to turn his article into a book. Matt's friend says he Saw Dane the other day. That friend jokes around about Dane but Matt and Nicole don't Like it. We cut to a house gathering with Dane and his family. Dane is slightly depressed. In the morning Dane packs his car with outdoor trekking supplies. A family member is worried for him.
We cut to the outback and Dane is walking with his back pack. Wen see beautiful desert surrounds. Dane sets up his tent. A woman walks close by. "Hi, what’s your name?" She says. "I'm Teresa... would you like to go hiking with me today? C'mon I could use your company" says Teresa. They start hiking together. She says she nearly got lost. The landscapes look wonderful. Desert cliffs and big rocky formations. We cut to Nicole and Matt chatting. "Remind me to call Dane tomorrow... I love you" says Matt.
"We cut to Dane and Teresa at night. Teresa has made some dinner. 'Can I tell you something... I asked you to hike with me for a reason. 6 years ago I didn't have any reason to live... but now I do' says Teresa. She can feel that Dane is depressed right now and she leaves her phone number. This is a very interesting scene. You didn't realise that Dane himself has personal issues up until now"
In the morning Dane packs up and drives back to the city. He checks his messages And Matt and the girls have left a message. Dane then cries and drives off. We cut to a halloween party and Dane is serving punch. The text reads "Fall 2013 - One year Since diagnosis". Nicole takes her medicine, she looks exhausted. She chats to Molly. The little kids are doing trick or treat. Nicole puts the milk in the cupboard And not the fridge. That earlier friend (Liam) still makes fun of Dane for living with Nicole and Matt. But Matt says to him "Don’t be such an asshole Liam".
We cut to Matt bathing Nicole. Nicole says "People don’t look at me when they talk to me anymore". Matt recalls when he met Nicole at the burger palace. "You're the most Beautiful woman I’ve ever seen" recalls Matt. Nicole cries. Molly gets into an accident with the iron. Nicole slipped up.
"Nicole wants to tell the girls everything. Matt and Nicole tell the girls what the doctor told them "Mama is going to die". The girls cry. It’s a depressing scene. The text reads "Winter 2011 - One year before diagnosis". These flashback are cool too. I like the way the story is structured in a timeline. Sometimes we go to the past and sometimes the future"
We then see a theatre performance. At night Matt checks his emails and some man has replied to their email.
"Nicole says she had a crush on a guy called Peter. 'Did something happen' asks Matt. 'We kissed' says Nicole. Matt says 'I know It wasn’t just a kiss'. Nicole then accuses Matt of cheating when he was his trips. Then Matt says 'never once'. Aside from the cancer element it looks like these two have had heavy relationship problems too. This is a sad element to the film"
In the morning Matt throws wines on the floor in anger. "You had a husband and a family... and you ruined it all... because you couldn’t resist sleeping with an old man!". Matt then leaves. At night Dane barges in and breaks the door down. He wants to chat to Nicole. Nicole then helps the girls draw. "Do you love him…" Says Matt. Nicole says "No". "I don’t know if its going to work... but I’m willing to try" says Matt.
The text says "Summer 2014 - Two years since diagnosis". Nicole is hosting A book club. Matt takes the phone away from Nicole who has been posting Mean messages to her friends. Nicole gets furious. "I’m still a valid person… And you want me to die" says Nicole. She is probably deteriorating because Of her cancer. What a sad scene. We cut to Mollys’ school. "I think your mad Because Mami’s sick…" says Matt. "No I’m mad because I’m gonna be stuck With you!" Says Molly. I think there were years that Matt wasn’t there for his Kids due to travelling.
Dane wants to go on a trip with Matt. Dane thinks he needs it. They go to a forest. They trek. Dane says "I'm happy to be here". They sit down and see some girls on an inflatable boat having fun. Dane looks at the beautiful girls and says "You see that... that's nice" hehehe. Dane hangs on a rope attached to a big tree.
"We cut to Nicole laughing to herself on the bed. The nurse arrives. 'Why don’t you take a rest and I'll handle it from here" she says. 'I haven’t recognised Nicole for four months' says Matt. 'We need to start preparing for the end' says the nurse. The nurse is played excellently by the experienced Cherry Jones. She is an experienced cancer nurse that is well aware of the last phases of a sufferer. She has some honest words for Matt and Dane. What a performance by Cherry"
Matt remembers the good times he had with Nicole. The nurse and Matt look at Nicole while she sleeps. Charlotte visits Nicole at her Bedside and cries. They go to the beach with Nicole. Matt remembers An earlier time at the beach. In the morning Nicole has passed on. "Is she gone" asks Matt. The nurse nods. Great acting by Casey Affleck dnd Jason Segel. We cut to the wake and their a photos of Nicole projected on the wall. Matt lies on a couch with the girls. The soundtrack is a song sung by Nicole.
Matt checks the letters Nicole wrote. One is addressed to him and he Cries. We cut to Matt writing memoirs on the computer. We then see a flashback of Nicole singing. Matt prints out his memoirs of Nicole and Gives it to Dane. "These are letters from your Mom" says Matt to the girls. Dane packs up his things from his room at Matt’s house. He is in a sombre mood. Dane wants to get his shit together and go back to New Orleans.
"'Will you be alright?' Asks Dane. They hug. What a great friendship. "Thank you doesn't do it man" says Matt. Matt then goes inside to answer a phone call. He says to the caller 'Sorry about that... I was just saying goodbye to a friend'. What a great way to end the film. What a friend Dane proved to be"You always kind of knew how this film was going to end. But you still feel sad at this final point in the film. You feel for Matt, Dean and ultimately Nicole. They were great people caught in a difficult circumstance. The two friends Matt and Dean worked together to ease the suffering.
"This movie is very compelling and it makes you think that some families dealing with cancer are doing it very tough. You realise how fortunate you are. Nicole (played wonderfully by Dakota Johnson) is suffering from cancer. This movie delt with this topic excellently. Sometimes you felt that some scenes were documentary like. Such was the realism. Casey Affleck (playing Matt) has always been a reliable actor. You feel the pain of Matt in his body language and face. Unbelievable performance. But it was Jason Segel (Dane) who suprised me here. Jason is usually in comedies but he showed great depth here as a reliable friend. The little daughters of Matt (Isabella Kai as Molly and Violet McGraw as Evie) also put in realistic heart felt performances"Some scenes that were memorable include the scene with the doctor, when Matt breaks the wine bottles in anger, Matt fainting, the first scene between Matt and Nicole and the goodbye scene between Matt and Dane. Some family members are going through this cancer scenario right now. This movie shows you the pure strength of the family members and friends that support them. Aside from the cancer aspect Nicole and Matt also go through typical relationship problems (before diagnosis) that the audience will find very interesting. This movie has elements of minor comedy that come at odd times. It’s kind of cool. It cuts up the sombre dramatic elements real good. I wouldn’t call it a comedy per-sat though. Enjoy the brilliant and memorable 2hrs 4min.