There are few things I love more than a serendipitous movie moment.
Over the past couple weeks, Netflix has been continually recommending me Someone Great. I took one look at the poster, saw three chicks on it and wrote it off as the usual fun-wild-girls’-night thing that ends with them realizing they have issues with each other and they confront it and blah blah blah…
So, I swiped left.
I decided to go ahead and watch it while getting my nails done. I would have preferred talking to the lady doing my nails but we communicated primarily through over-exaggerated head shakes or nods and thumbs up or down gestures. A prolonged conversation seemed unlikely. Anyway, I digress.
The movie is about Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) who gets dumped from a goddamn nine-year relationship – which in itself, felt like a slap in the face from the get. The whole premise just seemed rude and as a fellow female, I already felt a strong urge to resolutely hate her ex-boyfriend, Nate (Lakeith Stanfield).
Jenny then contacts Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise), tells them about the break-up and they proceed to skip work and have a drug/alcohol fuelled day leading up to a music festival, Neon Classic.
The kicker is this, Jenny has a series of flashbacks to her relationship throughout the 90-minute long movie, showing us how the relationship began and how they were when things were good and what happened that led to its end. It comes up randomly. Like in emotional conversations with her favourite drug dealer and while listening to a song in a convenience store. Even when looking at a bottle of coke.
You see all the important bits. You see the cute things they did when their relationship seemed to stretch on forever – like writing their names in a corny-ass heart bubble on the edge of a fountain.
You see the things they did that gave them their identity as “us”. Things like giving each other piggyback rides or answering “I love you” with “forever.” You witness the first time they see each other – really see each other. You’re there the first time they say I love you.
And it’s all done in the most authentic fashion. Jenny is your genuine real-deal average girl. She isn’t holding onto some ridiculous label that seems to completely define her. She isn’t the drunk college girl, the I-need-to-marry-someone-rich gold-digger, the can’t-get-her-life-together-because-she-can’t-stop-partying mess or the perpetually-chasing-the-wrong-guy chick that we’ve all probably been at some point. Jenny is a girl who fell in love in her early 20’s and showed up every day to build a real relationship with a guy and then found that she still had to be there every day as it crumbled around her.
The bits of their relationship coming to an end is heart-breaking. I mean, truly gut-wrenching, tear-jerking and whatever other hyphenated verbs you can think of.
It’s all the stuff that is sometimes impossible to talk about – the screaming fights that isolate you from each other and from everyone else in your life. The arguments that make you wonder when this person that you love changed so much. The anxiety of feeling the swell of your lives well up around you, pulling you in different directions. The shock that comes with realizing that not even the sex is good anymore. It’s frenzied and desperate, trying to hold on to each other a little longer but when the release comes, it falls flat, leaving you empty when you used to be so full after. And empty is just so much worse than feeling bad. Empty is an abyss. A vacant lot that was once taken up with something that you can no longer name.
Which is why I’ve always hated the term “break up.” It does zero justice to the absolute mind and heart fuckery that you go through to finally get to this point of separation. First, you break each other, then you break yourselves. Breaking up is only the final stage – the cancer started way before that.
So, yeah. I don’t know how they do it so perfectly. How they captured each moment and suspended it, making you feel the pain of what is about to come. And boy, do you feel it deep. You feel Jenny’s desperation in trying to hold on, in trying to draw things out. You implode with her when he pulls away from her kiss. You can’t help but empathize fully when she’s sobbing uncontrollably. This journey is now complete; this chapter has closed. And it’s clear that Jenny being unprepared for it didn’t matter.
The movie discloses the ending of two other relationships. Blair and her boyfriend have a mutual, completely unemotional break-up that only gives them a tsunami of relief. Erin divulges to her newly-minted girlfriend about a relationship she was in that ended because her partner decided to just “go back to dudes.”
The movie is about a lot of things. It’s about love, loss, growth, friendships, courage, strength, partying, fear and choices. But ultimately, it’s about endings that flow very messily into new beginnings. That messiness is wonderful to see on screen because that’s how life is after all. Few of us experience clean breaks from out pasts.
Jenny spends her final week in NYC with her two best friends before heading to San Francisco alone to begin a new job. Erin navigates a fully-committed adult relationship for the first time in her life. Blair is now in a friends-with-benefit-situation and is loving it. We leave these characters in the middle of their lives, which is exactly how it should be.
Watch this with your girls, you’ll love it. Don’t watch this if you’re fresh out of a break-up, trust me on this. If your recently single friend is ignoring all warnings and watching this anyway, go to her house now with ice-cream or alcohol. Or both.