Irreplaceable You – Review

Genre Romantic, Comedy, Drama
Directed by Stephanie Laing
Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michiel Huisman, Steve Coogan, Timothy Simons, Jacki Weaver, Kate McKinnon, Christopher Walken, Tamara Tunie
Released on February 16, 2018
Flixxpanda Rating 6/10
Channel Netflix

Irreplaceable You is a film that wants to make you cry and if you don’t end up crying you feel guilty about it.

When there are films like “My Sister’s Keeper”, Irreplaceable You falls short of depicting anything realistic. It ends up being a flimsy glossed over version of a dire situation.

Irreplaceable You opens with Abbie already dead, she’s narrating the story from the after-life? Beyond the grave? Point is, it’s a voice-over. Her dialogue and tone is such that you don’t immediately feel sad, she’s quirky and manages to make even death seem like an okay situation.

Abbie and Sam (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michiel Huisman) are your dream couple. They are perfect and have been together for as long as they can remember. At eight years old the two went on a field trip to an aquarium. When the tour guide explained that the deep-sea angular fish chooses its mate by biting them, Abbie leans over and bites Sam. She recalls hilariously how it resulted in an emergency trip for Sam and a lot of therapy for her but, it was ‘true love’.

When Abbie starts to feel bloated and tired all the time the two think she’s pregnant. However, at the doctor’s appointment it’s revealed it’s a tumor. A stage-four cancerous tumor. Her initial reaction is shock after which she makes a comeback with “at least we won’t have to pay for college” to which Sam, her fiancé responds with “unless it’s a really smart tumor”. He then gently says “too soon”. That part may have made me tear up a bit. They were looking forward to welcoming new life, turned out their preparing to lose their other half.

Abbie is an obsessive planner and decides to take it upon herself to leave behind the perfect life for Sam, just without her in it. This includes finding him a new mate. She interviews a ton of women to find the perfect “replacement”. It’s denial at it’s finest.  In fact, if I could describe the entire film in one word, it would “denial”.

As the illness gets worse though, Abbie doesn’t show any major signs of change. The two continue to live in their fancy (very posh) and spacious New York City apartment. In a city as cramped as NYC, this is impossible. It glosses over literally everything. The carnage that cancer leaves in its wake is barely even addressed. The bills, the emotional torture on both the sick and the caregivers is hardly ever touched upon. The excruciating pain that loved ones feel when the sick person gradually drifts away from the land of the living is non existent. They are dead before their heart stops beating.  Further we already know she’s dying as soon as the movie starts so there isn’t any scope for her recovery or hope for us to feel like we should continue watching.

Irreplaceable You doesn’t let the audience become remotely attached to its lead characters before one of them is dying. So, we watch on with a detached sense of sadness. It’s a charming film with incredibly talented actors as the leads, it just fails to utilize them to the best of their abilities. However, the two do display adorable chemistry and try to make the best of it. I just wish there was more. More emotion, more intensity, more dialogue, more everything.

Credit – Netflix | YouTube

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