‘Here Today’ tackles a sensitive subject

Category: Movies


Billy Crystal directed, co-wrote, and stars in the dramedy Here Today, a story of two unlikely people who form a friendship that will change them both.   Tiffany Haddish costars with Crystal in this heartening tale of life, love, family, and death. Note: This article contains some spoilers because the author wants readers to know what to expect. With this subject some people cannot handle seeing it unfold as they might have experienced the same thing in the past or are living with it today.

Crystal is Charlie Burnz, a veteran comedy writer for a TV show based on SNL. He still has his charm, wit, and intelligence, however he is losing his memory. Charlie is suffering from dementia. He and his doctor are the only ones who know about his condition, and Charlie wants to keep it that way. He does not have the best relationship with his daughter Francine (Laura Benanti) or his son Rex (Penn Badgley), however he does have a loving relationship with his granddaughter Lindsay (Audrey Hsieh).

Through a strange event, Charlie meets Emma Payge (Haddish). She is an outgoing woman with a lot of love and spunk. She calls him “old man” and insinuates herself into his life. They have a mutual respect and grow on each other. He even invites he to be his date at Lindsay’s Bat Mitzvah.

Dementia is something that cannot stay a secret for long. After awhile people start noticing things about Charlie and he is told by his doctor that the disease is progressing rapidly.  This is the impetus that further binds Emma with Charlie. But will it be the thing that reconnects him with his family or will they pull away from the upcoming and inevitable downfall of their father?

Throughout the film Charlie daydreams about his beloved dead wife Carrie (Louisa Krause) who was tragically killed in a car accident when the kids were young. Their scenes together are sweet and viewers see the love between them.

Sharon Stone, Kevin Kline, Barry Levinson, and Bob Costas have fun cameos and Crystal is wonderful in both the comedy scenes and the dramatic ones. This might be the role that leads to an award for this actor/writer/director. And Haddish is equally delightful as the effervescent woman who is the saving grace for the entire family.

With the population aging, more and more families are confronting a relative with some form of dementia. It is a difficult diagnosis to deal with for not only the patient but also the family. Why do our brains fail us? Hopefully there will be an answer and cure in the near future. In the meantime, dementia is part of life and this film brings it front and center. The comedy scenes are a good way to balance the tragedy of the disease with some laugh-out-loud moments. We can all use some laughs, and this film delivers plenty of them, along with the sentimental story.

Here Today is rated PG-13 and will be released May 7, 2021.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. She is a longstanding member of the Los Angeles Press Club and the Television Critics Association and is accredited by the MPAA.