As lovely as some of the older romantic comedies may be, a lot of them are a bit out of date nowadays. From the lack of feminist perspectives, to the multitude of damsels in distress, it’s refreshing when a movie strays from the status quo. One of Netflix’s newer releases, Someone Great, takes the appeal of a rom-com, but adds a 21st-century twist.
Someone Great follows Jenny, as she navigates the collapse of her nine-year long relationship on her last night in New York. Her two friends, Blair and Erin, help her enjoy her newly single self, whilst also making everlasting memories with each other on their very last evening together.
Sounds a bit twee, right? Wrong. It’s a gorgeous story of female friendship, and the dynamic between the trio is so realistic, it seems as though you’re actually coming along with Jenny, Blair and Erin on their late night adventures. It really draws on the colour of New York City, as well as the colour your friends can bring to your life. Ultimately, Someone Great is a beautiful expression of the bond between best friends, one that even a cross-country move cannot break.
Jenny, played by Gina Rodriguez, is just the right amount of messy, pitiful, and hilarious, wrapped in one strange flannel shirt and tracksuit bottom combo. She’s scatty, flitting between emotions like a moth in a department store light department. One minute, she’s singing along to Lizzo, the next she’s crying on her own in Central Park. It’s a perfect representation of the feelings that are so prevalent in those first few hours of a break up: loss, hatred, anger, sadness, loneliness, and acceptance. Jenny is a beacon of hope for all of those who have ever had our hearts broken: no matter how horrible it may feel, no matter how hard it is to get over that person who was in your life, it is doable.
Erin and Blair are the ultimate best friends. One is a whirlwind of inappropriate decisions, but is a complete and utter hoot to be around. The latter is a slightly uptight, successful business woman, but she (of course) has a cheeky side. The two balance out Jenny’s madness, dragging her back down to earth every time her head seems to be floating a bit too high into the clouds. They are fun, they are blunt, and they are caring. It’s a wonderful dynamic that demonstrates a healthy and loving female friendship – something that rom-coms rarely do well.
One of the highlights of the movie, however, is the flashbacks. Every now and again, Jenny will see a building, a bench, or hear a song, that takes her right back to a time with her ex-boyfriend, Nate. In these moments, we gain true perspective on Jenny’s situation. It’s a reminder of how lovely the moments she had with Nate were, but also a reminder of the sadness she feels during these parts of the film. Each memory relays the same feeling as that of a cinder block being placed on your chest: a weight, inexplicable, pressing down on your heart. At these points of the movie, tears are almost uncontrollable. It’s truly unbelievable how well this movie conveys Jenny’s pain, as well as the beauty of her situation and the memories she has.
Granted, it’s not all great. There are a few other sub-plots, mainly to demonstrate the struggles of Erin and Blair in their love lives, but they fall short. They are thrown in as if to say, “look, we’ve tried to include more than one multi-faceted female character!” Ultimately, however important these story lines were to include a healthy representation of the acknowledgement of personal problems, they seem overtly superficial.
Someone Great is a story of romance, of laughter, and of sadness. It explores the ups and downs of friendship, as well as the importance of it. By the end of the movie, it becomes obvious that Jenny has made peace with her break-up, realising the only important constants in her life are her friends. In a movie world polluted with the message of our one true love, and of our Prince Charming, it is important that the young women of today have a reference point that shows it’s okay not to get it right every time. The only relationships that matter, are the ones you have with yourself, and the ones you have with your friends.