Michael and Andy (Mark Duplass and Ray Romano) are best friends and neighbours, but their simple life together is turned upside down when Michael is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and acquires drugs to end his life early.
While the characters have limited backstory, the performances from Duplass and Romano suggest a great deal of shared history, successfully creating the appearance of two people who feel totally comfortable in each other’s company.
Like last year’s The Breaker Uppers it takes a more modern look at interpersonal relationships, outside the classic ‘married man and women’ dynamic that’s historically dominated. Many different types of relationships and lifestyles are now acceptable in mainstream film, and that’s a really good thing.
In Paddleton Michael and Andy are unconcerned when mistaken for a couple and the lack of (or their indifference to) expectation or judgement allows an honest relationship to flourish onscreen. It’s made in a naturalistic yet cinematic way, with good cinematography and evenly paced direction which allows the performances to speak for themselves.
The result is a poignant and moving reflection on life and death, far superior to Ricky Gervais’s recent series After Life. And along with the recent success of Roma, it suggests the words ‘Netflix original’ might no longer be the most fear-inducing words in film.