“Our Friend” (Gravitas Ventures)
Screen version of a 2015 Esquire magazine article by Matthew Teague (Casey Affleck) recounting the unwavering and selfless support the journalist and his terminally ill wife (Dakota Johnson) received from their best friend (Jason Segel) who, as her death approached, moved in with the couple and helped to care for their two daughters (Isabella Kai Rice and Violet McGraw).
As directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite from a screenplay by Brad Ingelsby, the emotionally wrenching but ultimately uplifting drama treats tragic events in a spare, matter-of-fact manner matched by restrained performances from the gifted cast. The film’s celebration of love expressed in small gestures and its message that an individual’s worth is not to be measured by professional success alone help to compensate for the complete, though unspoken, absence of faith in an afterlife among the characters.
An adultery theme, mature references, including to homosexuality and cohabitation, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, twice as many milder oaths and rough terms, considerable crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.