Here Today Review: A Tearjerker Which Will Make You Smile

Here's our review of Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish starrer Here Today

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Here Today Review: A Tearjerker Which Will Make You Smile

It feels so wonderful to have Billy Crystal back in the saddle as a  director. This comic virtuoso best remembered for what he made Meg Ryan feel at a restaurant in When Harry Met Sally, is a talent of many shades. His brilliant comic timing and his ability to salvage a crisis, no matter how grave, with humour is so remarkable that we tend to forget that real life is far tougher than what it is shown to be in the movies.

 Here Today is an uneven but extremely heartwarming script about an aging comedy writer Charles, for long employed by a studio that has  amply reaped the seasonal harvests of  his comic genius. Now we can see he has become somewhat redundant at his workplace. At least that’s what the younger colleagues whisper, though the studio boss will hear none of it.

On top of all this, Charles has begun to develop symptoms of dementia. The forgetfulness is at that stage where Charles can feel  himself forgetting things. Before oblivion overpowers his senses there is work to be done, words to be written before they(the words) begin to fade.

 At this very critical juncture of his life Charles runs into  Emma (Tiffany Haddish), She is black and feisty, hungry and thirsty  constantly  searching for a meaning for her existence as a lounge singer beyond the stage. Haddish, let me tell you, is  a riot.She  breezes  into Charles life lighting up the screen  like  a firecracker in Diwali, pinning down his approaching  illness as  an approaching storm,instilling a renewed confidence in Charles who is  badly shaken by impending catastrophe.

 “Of course I  see the  humour of  my situation,” he tells  his  doctor(Anna Deavere Smith) who behaves as if she  decided  to moonlight as a medico in  the middle of a stand-up act.The film  brings together  humour and   a chance  to  revisit  some  of our  oldest neuroses  about aging and  dying, without wallowing  in schmaltz.Some  portions  of  the plot , like Emma breaking  into  Janis Joplin number at a  Bar Mitzvah, are cheesy in their formalism. However the mood is always upbeat even when  circumstances threaten to weigh down Charles’s spirit.

The Crystal-Haddish chemistry is the USP of this  endearing dramedy. There is no sex between them and yet the chemistry is palpable. The  other  young character who makes an impression on Crystal is  Darrel, a young earnest comedy writer , played by  Andrew Durand who has  the most unusual face since Adam Driver.  The actors, including the ones who play Charles’ family, are in this for a life-changing experience. Here Today  doesn’t quite make it to that level of lucidity .But its grammar of wisdom and mortality is impeccable.

Most of all, this is Billy Crystal’s opportunity to project his own fears and insecurities of aging  in a film that sparkles with  an emotional  transparency. There is a sequence on a stage where Crystal is being honoured for his writing. The guests on stage are Sharon Stone, Kevin Kline and director Barry Levinson. What ensues can only be described as  a comedy of errors where Sharon Stone gets to be Meryl Streep. Charles is  losing the plot. That’s Crystal clear.

Image source: Youtube/SonyPicturesEntertainment, Instagram/heretodaymovie