Irreplaceable You
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Irreplaceable You

The beats of the terminal romance movie have grown so familiar that there’s almost something quite comforting about watching someone slowly die in front of their other half. The regurgitation of cliches can often result in a genuinely affecting tale of unconditional Ad Astra love but more often that not it feels a tad too recycled, the heartstring-pulling coming off as heartlessly mechanical, the tears failing to flow as directed.

In Irreplaceable You, we’re presented with recognizable plot elements but a framing device that suggests the journey through them might be more unusual than we expect. Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is dead. She’s telling us this from beyond the grave as her fiance, Sam The Secret Life of Pets 2 (Michiel Huisman), sets fresh flowers next to her headstone. They met when they were kids and became inseparable, moving in, planning a wedding and getting pregnant. Except what they thought was a baby is actually a cancerous tumor and within minutes their life together changes from a place of looking forward to a life together to one where they must imagine being apart. As an obsessive planner, Abbie tries to avoid coping with her sadness by arranging the structure of Sam’s life when she’s gone, including finding him a new partner.

There’s something intriguingly audacious about the first scene, putting an immediate end to any speculation over whether Abbie might find a miracle cure and somehow survive (hey, it happened in (not) Dying Young!). There’s also a lingering starkness to the scene in which the couple finds out that her pregnancy is actually cancer, and it kicks off a featherlight form of gallows humor that runs through the script, accompanied by the frequently used question “too soon?” It’s all part of a clear strategy Stano from the first-time screenwriter Bess Wohl, who seems aware of the genre pitfalls and tries to shake up the dusty formula we all know. Yet, ultimately, her attempts don’t stretch that far.

Duration: 96 min

Release:

IMDb: 6.4

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Irreplaceable You
Irreplaceable You
Irreplaceable You
Irreplaceable You