Irreplaceable You: Film Review

This review contains spoilers for the film Irreplaceable You (2018).

It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl, girl bites boy, girl somehow convinces boy to stay with her for the next 15 years, despite the prospect of rabies. Beautiful.

Abbie Gordan (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a obsessive, controlling woman who, since the age of 8, has dominated the life of her partner, Sam (Michiel Huisman). Now in her early 30’s, she’s proposed to Sam by way of capitalising on a suspected pregnancy. Only it isn’t a baby that’s about to shake their world, but a large tumour in her pelvis.

Irreplaceable You follows Abbie’s story from early in her diagnosis, through her frankly backwards ideas to set up a life for Sam to continue without her, complete with an Abbie replacement, and closes with her death. Along the way she discovers that life is about what’s here-and-now, and not what happens after you’ve gone.

The romantic comedy-drama, written by actress Bess Wohl and directed by Stephanie Laing, is padded out with a decent amount of “too soon?” jokes, and pokes fun at the meaning of life, all while neatly wrapped up in morals about friendship, keeping a positive mindset through hard times, and learning to let go of your fears.

Released as a Netflix original in February 2018, Irreplaceable You has already received a wave of negative feedback. Vulture film critic Emily Yoshida described the movie as “a half-baked tragic love story so desperately engineered to tear-jerk that it ceases to resemble anything human”. The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee goes on to say that despite having an almost all-star cast, including Christopher Walken, Kate McKinnon and Steve Coogan, the film never really gets off it’s feet as the plot is too “far-fetched”, Abbie quickly turns to becoming the “cliched nag”, and accuses the “sitcom nature [of starting] to grate”.

It’s been a rough start to the year for 7-time award-winning lead actress Mbatha-Raw, who has only recently disappeared from the spotlight of film-infamy following her role in another Netflix original, The Cloverfield Paradox, released just two weeks before.

  • Rotton Tomatoes – 29%
  • Roger Ebert – 50%
  • Metacritic – 34%

My rating: 62%

Sure, it was sappy, unrealistic and at times highly frustrating, but it did manage to do all three things the genre claimed: swooning, laughing and crying. So if you, like me, need a feel-good tear-jerker in your life, I would recommend investing in some microwaveable popcorn, a comfy couch, and sacrificing an hour and a half of your life you’ll never see again to watching Irreplaceable You.

Director: Stephanie Laing
Screenplay: Bess Wohl
Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michiel Huisman, Steve Coogan, Kate McKinnon, and Christopher Walken.
Release Date: Feb 16, 2018
Running time: 1 hour and 36 minutes

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