Sundance 2021: Together Together

Ed Helms and Patti Harrison appear in Together Together by Nikole Beckwith, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Tiffany Roohani.

Together Together marks a cinematic game-changer in terms of opportunities given to transgender talent on the big screen.

Transgender talent are have really just begun to start getting more opportunities in big screen roles.  More often than not, it’s usually a supporting role or a mere cameo in a big screen film.  What we see in this film is a complete game-changer in every sense of the word.  Not only does Patti Harrison have a leading role but the transgender comedian is portraying a cisgender woman.  Sure, trans talent can get roles in which they portray cisgender characters.  But, again, the opportunities are few and far between.  I feel like Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen is changing things with the opportunities being given to transgender talent.

A single man and app designer, Matt (Ed Helms), hires 26-year old Anna (Patti Harrison) to be the surrogate mother of his child.  By signing up to be a surrogate mother, Anna is in for a payday–one that will allow her to finish college.  Matt in his 40s but at first, their relationship is strictly platonic.  Matt is so happy to finally become a father in his 40ths that he almost certainly crosses the lines.  Anna is a loner and works at a coffee shop–Matt stops by more times than is probably healthy.  He’s doing this for the first time but you can tell he just wants what is best for Anna.  You can tell how much he cares about here by the mere fact that he opens his home to her.

While Together Together is a comedy, the film is certainly not a romantic comedy.  At least, I don’t see it in this way.  If writer-director Nikole Beckwith intended for the film to be a rom-com, it doesn’t play within any of the typical genre tropes.  I find that Matt and Anna are simply friends with benefits except the two of them are not having sex.  Will their friendship extend beyond this?  I don’t know because the film fades out before we see what happens.

Beckwith also uses her script to comment on Woody Allen’s films.  Mainly, the age difference in the on-screen relationships in the likes of Annie Hall and Manhattan.  There is an approximate 20-year age difference between Matt and Anna, hence the dialogue about Woody Allen films.

Together Together is led by the strength of its two leads in bringing about a new charming comedy.

CAST:  Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres, Anna Konkle, Timm Sharp, Evan Jonigkeit, Rosalind Chao, Sufe Bradshaw, Greta Titelman, and Nora Dunn, Fred Melamed

Together Together holds its world premiere during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Bleecker Street will release the film at a later date.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.