Nicole Teague, who is portrayed by Dakota Johnson in the film, was 34 years old at the time she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2012. While the movie doesn't specify the type of cancer Nicole has, in researching the Our Friend true story, we discovered that it had started as ovarian cancer before spreading throughout her abdomen.
The true story reveals that they had met Dane Faucheux 15 years earlier while they were living in New Orleans and Nicole and Dane were going to the same college. -Esquire
In real life, when Nicole Teague's hair began to fall out from chemo, she asked her husband Matt to get his beard trimmer and give her a Mohawk. Matt sent the picture to Dane, who immediately buzzed his own head into a Mohawk to match Nicole's. Matt doesn't mention hair dying in his Esquire article. In a blog post, Nicole did write that she completed her bucket list item of having red hair. However, there's no mention of Dane dying his.
Yes. This comes straight from the Esquire article that inspired the Our Friend movie. A group of Baptist women came by Nicole's hospital room while she was trying to sleep. Dane had posted himself outside to stop anyone from unnecessarily bothering Nicole and Matt. He told the women that he was sorry to inform them they could not enter. "I feel pretty sure God can hear you out here in the hall," he said.
Not exactly. It leaves out some of the more horrific aspects of Nicole's battle. In the Esquire article that inspired the film, the real Matt Teague talks about how his wife Nicole shed significant weight, understandably more than the movie was able to portray. He mentions that her collarbone looked unnatural, "like something an alien implanted under her skin." He also talks about having to change the packing in the dime-sized holes in her abdomen, the result of her surgeries and her body becoming increasingly slower in its ability to heal itself.
As her body began to reject food, Matt says that small pieces of half-digested food mixed with stomach acid would emerge through the wounds in Nicole's abdomen via tunnels that had formed called fistulas. They tried to use gauzes and cloth diapers to catch it, but the stomach acid would eat through them and eventually started to consume her flesh as well. This is just one of the physical horrors that Matt describes in his article, any one of which could have easily turned off movie audiences.
However, critics like Peter Debruge of Variety complained that scrubbing the unpleasantness from the movie turns it into a "dishonest, sanitized, no-help-to-anyone TV-movie version of death," which had been precisely why Matt Teague wanted to set the record straight in his article.
Yes. After noticing how much Matt was struggling both physically and mentally, Dane took Matt hiking in the Appalachians for a couple of days. A friend of Nicole's agreed to stay with her while they were away. It's true that Matt was reluctant to go at first, not wanting to leave Nicole. He even thought that Dane was conspiring against him, as Dane expressed his concern for Matt to both Nicole and Julia, the counselor. He also wondered why Dane was making secret arrangements with their friends behind his back.
The time in the Appalachians seems to be depicted accurately, aside from some minor changes. In the movie, they see a group of college-aged girls swinging on a rope swing and dropping into a creek or pond. In real life, the girls were jumping off of rocks jutting out from the top of a waterfall. Similar to the movie, Dane climbed up and took a turn as Matt cheered him on.
Yes. Throughout 2014, Nicole had moments of improved health. She began to eat again, and she made a bucket list of all the things she wanted to do. This included visiting New York City one last time, jumping into the downtown fountain with their friends, and being the grand marshal of a Mardi Gras parade, all of which she accomplished.
Yes. In one instance, Nicole called for her husband Matt and told him she needed help to the bathroom. She then told him that she was a Barbie Doll and that when he moved her, he could only move one limb at a time. It's true that Matt and Dane kept the girls away from her when she was hallucinating. Painkillers like Dilaudid, which is seven times stronger than morphine, also attributed to her lashing out, especially at Matt.
Yes, it was one of the few foods she could still taste accurately. Matt said that she ate so much mayo it became a jar-a-day habit. -Esquire
Yes. In order to help maintain her normal role as mother and shopper, Nicole started to secretly order things online, including toilet paper, school supplies, and clothing. Matt says that he let it go on for a long time, but the final straw came when Nicole sent money to someone in Iraq. It was then that he started to change their accounts to prevent her from accessing them.
Dane Faucheux spent a total of 14 months living with Matt and his family. He left abruptly four months after Nicole died, not knowing how to tell Matt. He just began packing and left one day while Matt's daughters were at school. He headed back to New Orleans to reclaim the life he had left behind. Dane visits Matt and the girls often.
The real Nicole Teague was a devout Christian. In writing about her battle with cancer in her blog, she stated in a September 2013 post, "I look back at the last year of strife and hardship and know what got me through: the care of those who love us, my incredible love for my girls, and my strong faith in God. I may not understand it, but I believe He has a purpose in all this, and that's a freeing thing." In a video titled "Nicole's Blessings and Testimony," she shared her testimony in words and song. She had been a member of First Baptist Church in Fairhope, Alabama. The movie does a disservice to the true story by failing to capture this side of Nicole. It is unclear whether her husband Matt shared in her devotion.
Yes. Jason Segel met the real Dane once about halfway through filming. However, he says that he made it a point to separate the character from the real Dane, since certain parts of the character were fictionalized for the movie. This includes portraying Dane as "dorky." Also, while Dane does in fact perform stand-up comedy in real life, Segel depicts him as a not-so-great stand-up comedian. -ET Canada
A 2019 Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Matt continues to work as a freelance journalist, writing for such notable publications as Esquire, Men's Journal, Smithsonian, The Atlantic and The Guardian. He was an executive producer on the Our Friend movie. Matt remarried in 2019. His wife Bo gave birth to a baby boy in early October 2020.