Charlie Burnz is a veteran comedy writer who meets New York street singer Emma Payge and they form a very unique and special friendship which was what they both needed at that very moment, showing that different generations can form bonds and support one another in the best possible way.
We quickly see that Charlie Burnz is struggling with his memory as he walks to work one morning reminding himself of the directions he must take to get there from his apartment. Still working in a studio where he had a successful career as a comedy writer, being part of the skits show. Offering support to his now boss and taking a young writer Darrell under his wing and helping him progress and improve his writing. Something we can quickly understand is that he has not lost his love for comedy and writing, yet.
A meeting with Emma Payge who won the meet and greet meal at an auction, although Charlie finds out instantly that she had no idea who he was, she used the ticket to get back at her ex-boyfriend who had won the auction. The pair get on rather well with each other, but Emma having an allergic reaction to shellfish sees a trip to hospital that Charlie ends up paying for. She is determine to pay him back and keeps seeing him again with brown paper bags full of cash!
We see meetings of Charlie with his doctor where it is revealed that he has dementia in the early stages, but it is a rare form and it is very difficult to determine how long he will still know who everyone is, including his family who he has not told. His son Rex and daughter Francine have rather strained relationships with their father due to earlier events. His granddaughter Lindsay worships him and wants to see him a lot more than her mother allows. We get to see Charlie’s love for his decreased wife Carrie in flashback/dream form as he remembers their life together and has so much regret over her death.
Throughout the story and plot we really get a chance to look at how dementia progresses and how it feels for the person going through it but also the impact that it is then going to have on those around them. I really do find this ever so difficult considering my Nanna had dementia and I really wish more films and TV shows had started highlighting this disease so much earlier. I wish I knew back then what I know now and I might have been able to cope with it in a slightly better way. Here Today really does hit hard at times, but also is very light with some comedic moments and you need to keep those as if not you would constantly be crying.
The balance of the story and the different relationships within the film makes you wonder if they can come together one last time before it is too late. The relationship between Charlie and Emma is quite frankly hilarious as they both needed the other person and it was not romantic love or anything like that at all, it was companionship and friendship. I don’t feel this type of relationship is shown enough, everything always needs to link with sex and this actually confirms there’s so much more to life than that. I found myself with tears streaming down my face in the end and I guess that was always going to happen with this story.
My love for Billy Crystal is even stronger after this as it really feels like a passion project that he wanted to get across considering he also co-wrote it as well as directing. He does a fantastic job and it really is an outstanding performance as he must take his character and the audience through the many moments and emotions, doing so in such a classy style. Tiffany Haddish works so effortlessly alongside him and that was a joy to watch. We only get little parts from Penn Badgley, Laura Benanti and Audrey Hsieh who make for a lovely cast.