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Rated 3 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Tugging at Our Heartstrings
by Betty Jo Tucker

 Irreplaceable You is a real tearjerker, folks. Only viewers with hearts of stone would fail to care for Abbie and Sam, whose relationship started when they were eight years old. My husband and I don’t usually cry while watching a film. And although we tried to hold back tears during this movie, at the end the waterworks won. Maybe that’s because Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle) and Michiel Huisman (The Invitation) tug so fiercely at our heartstrings with their charming portrayals of two people who fell in love as they grew up together. In fact, neither one of them ever dated anyone else.

It’s clear that Abbie and Sam belong together. Most of their conversations make us smile at the way they talk to each other. And when we hear the bad news about Abbie’s stage 4 cancer, we can’t help worrying about her right along with Sam. Her chemo treatment scenes are hard to take, and she soon starts looking so tired and frail. Granted, we’ve seen similar films – The Fault in Our Stars, for example – but this time the story involves the dying character trying to find someone to take her place before she passes on. Tissue, please!             

Childhood sweethearts, their love seems true.

As adults, that love just grew.

When cancer rears its ugly head,

it brings them feelings of great dread.


How will they deal with this sad news?

Will their love change amid the blues?

They love and laugh and sometimes cry

as we dab tissues on each eye.


SHE tries to find new love for him.

HE won’t give in to such a whim.

While this film brings on lots of tears,

these two lovers earn heartfelt cheers.

Some of the best scenes in Irreplaceable You take place in Abbie’s support group. That’s where she meets Myron (Christopher Walken) who becomes a good friend. They even go shopping together! Walken (Hairspray) is perfect in this amusing but also serious role. He makes Myron seem so real to us as he tries to help Abbie do the right thing. (I was hoping Walken would do a little tap dancing, which would not be out of character here.) SNL's Kate McKinnon, who plays a “glass is half full” member of the group, annoys us a bit during the sessions, but she’s never boring. However, Steve Coogan (Hamlet 2), usually so funny, appears rather bland as the group leader.     

Directed by Stephanie Laing, working from Bess Wohl's screenplay, Irreplaceable You impressed me with the way it mixes a light-hearted tone with grief and sorrow. We know how this movie has to end, but even the last sequence manages to come across as poignant and sadly entertaining. More tissues, please.

(Released by Netflix. Not rated by MPAA.)

For more information about Irreplaceable You, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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