27th Nov2020

‘Here Awhile’ Review (Amazon Prime)

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Anna Camp, Steven Strait, Joe Lo Truglio | Written by Csaba Mera, Tim True | Directed by Tim True

If the scene at the dining room table doesn’t break you… Nothing will! I sit here a broken man. I mean this is not a new thing for me, I am a total wet blanket and often I’m left emotionally drained at an awful lot more movies than I care to admit to. Once I even squirted tears over an episode of Nickelodeon’s Hey Arnold but that’s not important right now.

Iā€™m a huge fan of movies that are just straight up good stories with powerful performances… No action, no horror and no bells and whistles, just a story about people told well, that is relatable and most of all connects with the viewer on a different level. There are certain movies that I know (not surprisingly mostly independent) when I put them on I will be a wreck by the time it fades to black and I shall be adding Here Awhile to that list.

Anna (Anna Camp) has returned home to reconnect with her estranged brother Micheal (Steven Strait) after many years away. It may have been some time but they instantly bond again with Anna finding her brother to be much more grown up and even somewhat looks after his next door neighbor Gary (Joe Lo Truglio) who suffers with Aspergers. We shortly find Anna has not just come home to reconnect, she is dying from the Cancer and is making use of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. What follows is a story of her brothers struggle to accept her terms, an unlikely friendship with neighbor Gary and more importantly a strong portrayal on an incredibly important subject.

I am probably going to gush over Anna Camp’s performance in Here Awhile shortly, so first let me be a tad negative and it is a very small gripe… I know this movie is about the Anna character but Joe Lo Truglio in this flick is doing a hell of a performance and I found myself intrigued by the Gary character and just didn’t find him fleshed out enough. Now yes, I am aware this is a side character to support the lead but he was great in the role and the selfish viewer in me wanted more of him.

Anna Camp, for me has taken on a very important subject and struck a delicate balance with it. She does have a great script to work with though and to be honest while I thought she was superb, her supporting cast mates are just as equally strong. I loved seeing this portrayal of a woman who has chosen to die on her own terms and the strength of conviction she has in her choice. Big thumbs up to Camp from me.

There really isn’t much more I can say about Here Awhile apart from even though you kinda know from the outset where the movie is going, the last 10-15 minutes of this story are so damn engaging you will be thinking about it for a few hours after. That scene at the dining room table was a total punch to the gut. Director Tim True in his directorial debut has smashed it!

So yeah the final score is going to seem a tad weird considering all the praise I am landing on this flick, Yes, Anna Camp is excellent and the script is great but I have to be honest you know from the start where it’s going to end and Joe Lo Truglio should be in it more (although I understand the reasoning).

**** 4/5

Signature Entertainment presents Here Awhile on Amazon Prime Video 11th December. You can also rent & buy it now on all major VOD outlets.

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