Irreplaceable You - Review
I don’t know if it is because it is the month that Valentine’s Day falls on, or if it is a coincidence, but Netflix has released a few romantic movies this month. After last week's release of When We First Met, now comes their newest one: Irreplaceable You, a movie about a couple going through one of them getting a cancer diagnosis. Continue below to read more about the film. There will be slight spoilers throughout.
The film deals with a couple who has been together almost their whole life, and when Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) gets a cancer diagnosis, she spends the rest of the movie trying to set him with other women for after she passes away. The premise is intriguing, but that’s where it stops. The movie is so antiseptic, that it feels like an educational video shown in schools.
The cast is great. Mbatha-Raw is a strong lead, and Kate McKinnon and the always wonderful Christopher Walken provide the only relief on the slog through the film. Irreplaceable You is like the recipe you follow by the book – and it comes out bland. It deals with all of the emotions and stages anyone would go through after a cancer diagnosis, but it feels like the film goes through them because it has to, not because it is naturally organic to the characters.
I do appreciate the film putting Abbie’s death on front street though. It starts with a shot of her gravestone. The film doesn’t pretend she will survive. That should make it more powerful in a way, because we know that everything she’ll do matters. Somehow, it doesn’t. Sam (Michiel Huisman) is Abbie’s fiancée, and throughout these setups, he meets someone he sort of clicks with. It seemed that is where the film should have shifted, the only one that Abbie didn’t try to force on him, would be the one. But Mira is never really in the picture again.
I’ve seen people go through cancer treatments. I’ve seen them at different stages. This was all so devoid of any real emotion that it falls short of all of its goals. The most enjoyable parts of the movie are when Abbie is hanging out with Christopher Walken’s character Myron. He calls her out for being stubborn and controlling and stuff, and it is the only time you see what a flawed character Abbie is. Well, if you are a good judge of character you can tell she’s flawed immediately, but the film only wants you to realize that when Myron tells you.
Back to the first scene – it shows Sam visit Abbie’s grave, and it cuts as soon as he says “Hi, Abbie” like he is talking to her. It presents the expectation that the audience will revisit that scene, and maybe introduce her to his new wife, or just talk about his journey after she’s gone, but it never does. We never see hide nor hair of that again, and it seemed like a missed opportunity.
There is a really good movie in there somewhere, but it just didn’t work for me. If you take away all of the fluff, the heart of it - while having good intentions - seems shallow and empty. The tone shifts between a romantic comedy and a heartfelt relationship movie, but doesn’t commit to either fully so it becomes stuck in the middle and suffers for it.
This is Netflix, it’ll get clicks, it’ll get downloads, it’ll get views. But that doesn’t change the fact of what this movie is, and that is a dry, shallow, empty mess with too few redeemable factors to change it.
But different strokes for different folks – take a gander at it and form your own opinion. Maybe I missed something.
Irreplaceable You is now streaming, exclusively on Netflix.