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Sundance 2021 Review: 'Together Together' is a balm

More warm movies 2K21!

Ed Helms and Patti Harrison in 'Together Together.'
(Image: © Courtesy of the Sundance Institute)

Our Verdict

Together Together gets a lot of bonus points for being a story both about paternal desires and platonic love, but it's also a good reminder that sometimes stories can just be nice.

For

  • 🤰🏻It's great to see a story about paternal desires.
  • 🤰🏻We love a platonic love story between two straight folks!
  • 🤰🏻Julio Torres sighting!

Against

Together Together is part of our Sundance Film Festival 2021 coverage. You can find all of our reviews here.

Together Together will undoubtedly be billed as a romcom after it gets picked up out of Sundance. While the genre label technically isn’t incorrect, don’t worry—this isn’t a story about Ed Helms dating a 26-year-old (an idea that the film will get out of the way in no uncertain terms relatively early on). As a matter of fact, it’s about something much sweeter than a traditional romance between two unlikely leads. Matt (Helms) wants a baby, and he’s sick of waiting for “the right girl” to take the leap. Enter surrogate Anna (Patti Harrison), and the beginning of their unlikely tale.

I know every review out of Sundance is supposed to use big words and break into stringent film examination, but the fact is that Together Together is just nice. Not in negative way, or in the sense that the film doesn’t have any other qualities. It’s just a sweet movie about two awkward and sweet weirdos whose sweet story unfolds together in a very underrepresented manner. It’s warm. It’s like a balm amidst all the sadness and frustration that’s come our way in the last year.

Admittedly, Together Together gets a lot of bonus points because of the subject matter. We never see stories about men deciding they’re no longer waiting for a woman to have a child. The idea of single fathers who aren’t widowed or divorced is such a stigma that it’s rarely talked about at all, let alone in a feature film with two leads that have the chemistry that Harrison and Helms share. He’s so excited he could burst while she’s your typical apoplectic millennial who just wants to be left alone to do her thing. The pairing is as common as they come, but if it ain’t broke…

Outside of the fact that we never see stories like these focus on paternal desires, it’s thrilling to see a film that zeroes in on a platonic love between a man and a woman. The fact that the idea is still somehow stigmatized in 2021 seems absurd, but how many films can you name where two straight folks have an intimate relationship not rooted in a desire to sleep with one another?

The story’s fun and gets a lot of bonus points for its freshness, but whole heaps of praise have to be thrown in Harrison and Helms’ direction. This unlikely tale doesn’t work without leads who make it believable, and the two seem to pull it off with absolute easy. Their effortless performances give credence to the relationship that wouldn’t exist with lesser actors. Bonus: Los Espookys fans will get to spend some time with Julio Torres whenever Harrison’s Anna is at work. 

Ultimately, Together Together is a good reminder that sometimes the best kind of self-care is to sit down with a film that’s just pleasant. There’s merit to the story, and there are solid performances, but at its core this movie is just warm. And that’s all it needs to be!