Jenny’s life is changing rapidly. She’s just broken up with her boyfriend of nine years and she’s about to leave New York and her friends behind for a sparkling new job in San Francisco, writing for Rolling Stone. On the eve of her departure west, she gets her two best friends together for one last night out before their lives begin to charge.
Someone Great isn’t going to one of the films that changes the world. It’s firmly moulded by all the rom-com tropes that have gone before – the break-up, the best friends, the amazing New York apartments that no one writing for a magazine in 2019 could ever dream of owning – but it still manages to push the boundaries in it’s own ways.
Firstly, the cast is a majority of people of colour. Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) is Latina-American and her ex Nathan (LaKeith Stanfield) African-American, but this isn’t billed as a selling point for the film, something that makes it “interesting” or “different” – which makes a welcome change from the often lily-white couples that dominate a lot rom-coms.
It’s also refreshing to have a rom-com both written and directed from a female point of view that manages to perfectly blend the frustration and beauty of a friendship that is so wonderfully strong. Jennifer Kaytin Robinson’s writing and direction comes into it’s own when the three best friends simply walk the streets of New York together, scheming to get each other out of work or giving harsh-but-true relationship advice – which, luckily, makes up the majority of the film. Blair (Brittney Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) aren’t free from their own relationship hang ups and as they gently tease each other, visit eccentric drug dealers and weirdly rich twenty-somethings, it is clear that the friendship between them is what drives the film.
There isn’t a grand plan to get any exes back, or any grand gestures, it’s just about three friends spending one of their last nights together in a city they love, about to step forward into the terrifying unknown that is adulthood. All three come to the realisation that life is about to change beyond recognition in the next few years, but they whole-heartedly embrace it as the bound they have is stronger than distance and time.
Wise, Rodriguez and Snow have an undeniable chemistry, constantly bouncing off each other and taking the mick in the way only friends you’ve know for years could get away with. Someone Great is one of the those rare things, a female friendship depicted on screen in a way that feels completely natural – they cry and get drunk together, sing enthusiastically along to Selena in a corner shop, and skype each other on the toilet. It’s in the same vein as the 2017 coming-of-age Edge of Seventeen – a film that was about the beauty and heartbreak of female friendships.
It’s not going set the film industry alight but Someone Great isn’t trying to do that. It’s one of those films that makes you grateful for the people you have around you, about the pains of growing up and about how sometimes you’ve just got to get drunk and have a laugh about everything.