In a normal year, the hallways of the Plaza Theatre would be much more crowded during the Atlanta Film Festival. But, with COVID, almost all fanfare is eliminated and they truly have made the festival experience be as low contact as possible with concessions delivered to your seat and reduced capacity in the theater itself, expanding the offerings of the virtual screenings. The majority of films I will write about while attending the festival I will see virtually, with the exception of Together Together, Akilla’s Escape, The Dry, and Nine Days. Still, it’s good to be back in the theater as more and more people become vaccinated and safety measures are taken.
Matt (Ed Helms) is in a little bit of a crisis. He’s a single man in his 40s who wants to start a family. At one point he did have a partner of eight years, however their relationship went downhill and he’s been single since. His situation leads him to consider having a surrogate mother for his child, and he is connected with a woman in her mid-20s, Anna (Patti Harrison), who will be the mother.
Together Together portrays Anna’s experience through pregnancy and Matt’s anticipation of being able to start a family. As the title suggests, the two become close, drawn together by the pair’s sarcastic sense of humor and Matt’s genuine desire to become a father. Matt and Anna aren’t always sure where boundaries lie, but they value each other’s company and compassion in this shared experience. And as intimate as hearing a child’s heartbeat is, Matt and Anna aren’t together- Matt is old enough to be Anna’s father. Credit should go to director/writer Nikole Beckwith and Helms for ensuring Matt’s character comes off as, at worst, awkward rather than creepy. Anna makes no mistake making clear that she does not want to know the gender of the baby since she doesn’t want to become close to the baby, and Matt respects her wishes, also declining the offer to know the gender of the baby since he knows himself too well and that he’ll instantly blurt out the gender at any given moment should he know.
And so the baby becomes known as “Lamp” until birth since Matt does not want to refer to the baby as “it” and does not know the gender. Matt and Anna settle on Lamp since ‘lamp’ is not a name and doesn’t have a connotation to gender. Despite the gravity of the story, Together Together is a heartfelt comedy that brings humor out of Matt and Anna’s lives as well as its supporting roles. The film pokes fun at how lonely Matt is, and a medical technician (Sufe Bradshaw) who sees Matt and Anna in some of their most awkward/humorous moments complements the film’s dry comic tone.
As the birth of the child approaches, Matt and Anna have worked out their boundaries and have grown together as friends, not lovers. Together Together excels at portraying their journey and growth as characters, and there are some truly heartwarming moments as the pair pick out a color for the baby’s nursery and when Matt supports Anna as she undergoes labor. Together Together shows just how special starting a family should be, and with Matt as the father and Anna possibly becoming the ‘cool aunt’ for the child, we know that Lamp will have a bright future.
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