For as many films there have been about love, there have been an equal number, if not more, of them about heartbreak. Netflix’s 2019 slate of new releases seems very focused on the genre of romcom, and ‘Someone Great’ is its latest entry. It is the best way to spend your weekend if you too have met with the misfortune, or as one of the characters in the film calls it, “a blessing” of a broken heart. It will make you laugh, maybe even cry, and perhaps give some great tips about how to get over your own breakup. Despite its shortcomings, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson’s directorial debut has a lot to offer. Before making your way further into the article, I suggest you watch the film first because even though you can’t expect any big plot-twists in a romantic comedy, you wouldn’t want to spoil the story for yourself. If you haven’t seen the film yet, head over to Netflix.
Summary of the Plot
The film focuses on one day in Jenny’s life. This day is the aftermath of the two very pivotal things that have happened to her just a day before. The first thing, the great one, is that she has landed the job as a music journalist for Rolling Stone. This is basically what she had been working for her whole life and there is no way she’ll let her dream job just slip away. The downside is that she’ll have to leave her life in New York City and move to San Francisco. When she tells her boyfriend, Nate, about it, the other thing, the bad one, happens. She wants to try long distance, but he doesn’t. He calls quits, and just like that, their nine-year-old relationship meets its end. This leaves Jenny heartbroken and she decides to spend the next day with her best friends, Blair and Erin, enjoying one last night-out with them before she moves on to her new life.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Getting Over a Breakup
The event that drives the plot of the film is the end of an era for Jenny. The time she should have spent preparing for her move to the new city and the excitement she should have felt for getting her dream job is replaced by the time she needs to get over Nate and drain herself of the sadness that has followed it. Blair and Erin become her rock. They know her so well that they already know about the break-up even before Jenny gets the chance to tell them. Her Instagram stories tip them off. They also know what she needs in such a time, and what’s best for her even if she doesn’t know it herself. Hence, the first step is to turn towards your closest friends.
The second step is to distract yourself and focus on things that make you happy. You don’t want to sit at home and keep going back to the best and worst moments of your relationship. Jenny knows this and so, she plans to get tickets to Neon Classic, a concert where they can enjoy the evening. Thus, the event decides her itinerary for the whole day and she has something to keep her mind occupied. They start by trying to get tickets, shopping for dresses, meeting new people and crossing path with the ones they already know, all the while smoking weed, drinking booze and listening to the music that fluctuates with Jenny’s moods.
However, even with such a busy day, her mind drifts back to the good times she had with Nate. A song reminds her of the first time they met. As she strolls in the park, she passes by the spot they called their own. Even while in a supermarket, Diet Coke reminds her of him. All this is quite understandable and obvious. When you have been in such a long relationship, you have explored the city together, listened to songs, watched movies and made memories in all sorts of places. A slight nudge and you travel right back to those times. So, if everything reminds you of your ex, don’t let anyone tell you that it is because you are too fixated on the past. As Jenny does, you need to let the feeling flow and eventually, it’ll pass.
The next step, and the most important one, is to accept your individuality. The thing that makes breakups so painful is somewhat rooted in rejection. The person that you want to be with doesn’t want to be with you. “I don’t want you”- no one wants to hear that! But, being the adult that you are, you should have the maturity to respect the other person’s wishes, especially when it involves a relationship where both sides need to be in agreement. However, caught up in the wave of emotions, a broken heart seldom lets the brain take over and handle the situation prudently. Instead of thinking about where they went wrong, the question that lingers is “why?”. And so, arises the need to see the ex and ask them why exactly they shattered your heart into a million pieces (no matter if they have already explained that).
Jenny feels the same. She finds it important to talk to Nate again and, as her friends realise later, she had planned the Neon Classic evening because she knew he’d be there too. Erin and Blair try their best to knock some sense into her. She says she “just wants to talk”, but everyone knows, there are more chances of “talking” turning into “shouting” than just a civil conversation. If you have been thinking about doing the same, you need to think again, mate! It won’t do you any good. Somehow, Jenny manages to get Erin and Blair off her tail and she succeeds in finding Nate. However, once she sees him, she realises that this conversation (i.e., potential argument) won’t do anyone any good. As she later tells her friends, at that moment, she chooses herself. And truthfully, this is what it is all about. Knowing that one heartbreak doesn’t define your life.
More Than Just A Broken Heart
One of the best things about ‘Someone Great’ is that, for once, it allows the protagonist in a romcom to not make career sacrifices. Had it been that kind of film, Jenny would have realised that the only thing that she wants in her life is to be with Nate and she’ll focus on making things work with him. No job can take his place in her life. However, it is not that story and Jenny is not that kind of girl. As Nate himself says, she knows what she wants in life and she is working towards it. Love might be a great factor in one’s life but it is not the only thing that defines them. Even the main reason for the breakup isn’t the character’s ambitious nature or that she always chooses career over everything. It is just about the fact that they are not fit for each other anymore.
Another thing that makes this film better than others in the genre is that it allows the sidekicks to shine equally. There are no clichéd characters. Yes, there is a gay best friend who’ll stand by her side, no matter what. However, this person isn’t perfect either. Erin, too, is going through a phase and she struggles with the responsibility of growing up. This doesn’t allow her to express her love towards Leah, whom she is clearly in love with. Blair looks like a perfectionist on the outside but she has her issues as well. She had some goals in her life and she has managed to achieve most of them, but when it comes to love, she too needs some growing up. “Married by 30” was supposed to be the part of the plan and this is one of the reasons why she wasn’t letting go of Bill. In the day that Jenny finds closure with Nate, Erin and Blair find some resolution to their problems, as well. The best thing is that, for all of them, it isn’t about finding the love of their lives. It is about growing up. It isn’t about finding someone great for themselves. It is about being someone great for themselves. Isn’t that just what life is all about?
By the end, Jenny makes her peace with the fact that no matter how long they were together for, she and Nate aren’t made for each other. She has also come to realise that it need not be an unhealthy parting. The letter she writes to him on the train, the beautiful monologue that brings out the poet in her, displays her feelings. Is she still sad about losing him? Of course. But will she spend the rest of her days pining over him? Not really. She tells Matt that she is going to “finish it”. At first, it feels like she will go back to Nate and say all the good and the bad things to him cordially because she seems less sad this time. But that doesn’t happen. She doesn’t go back to him, she goes back to their spot, and, kind of, sleeps it off!
And then she dreams about the one thing that every dumped person wants. Nate comes to her and talks about how he had made the mistake of breaking up with her, that it was a hasty decision and he has come to realise that his life has no meaning without her. He wants them to try long distance; whether or not it works will be decided by the future. But they, at least, need to give it their best shot. All of this is what Jenny had thought about right from the beginning of the film, the things she had discussed with a complete stranger on the subway. At first, when the audience doesn’t know that it isn’t real, it seems like maybe this is it. The protagonist got the exact happy ending she wanted. But before you start judging the film for being clichéd, Jenny wakes up.
Things rarely go as you want them to in real life. If someone breaks up with you, they must have given it some thought. Once you understand the reason behind it, you’ll accept it too, in time. Jenny realises by the end that it wasn’t just her move to San Francisco that drove Nate to break up with her. Pieces had begun to fall out-of-place a long time ago. Growing up and growing apart happened simultaneously for them, and Jenny didn’t see it earlier because she didn’t want to let go of such an old relationship, just like Blair couldn’t break up with Bill even when both of them were equally unhappy in their relationship. Once she sits back and gets some perspective, she understands that it happened for the best.
Will There Be A Sequel?
Despite her not finding the love of her life, neither reuniting with one, ‘Someone Great’ ends on a happy note for Jenny. She accepts her sadness but life has great things in store for her, starting with her dream job. She and her friends have just entered a new phase in their lives. So, the end of one relationship is just the next step. This means that there are endless possibilities for Jenny’s story and maybe even for the film. Jenny is moving to a new city and that means new adventures, and for the romance-heads, the chance to explore new love interests. With the right script, anything can happen.
Because it has just been released, it is too early to anticipate the viewer’s response to the film, and the prospects of a sequel heavily rely on how much love the first film receives. Also, it is not based on a book. Often, if a book has a sequel, then the chances for the film to get a sequel increase considerably. If you loved the film, then you can hope for a follow-up story, but also prepare yourself for the possibility that it might not happen.
The fact that it has the potential of resonating with a lot of people shows in its array of diverse characters. It has one of the best-represented casts in recent times. A Latina protagonist, an African-American homosexual, multiple interracial relationships, and none of them being so because the story “needed” them to be. It is a regular film about regular people and they need not always be all white. This colour, and racial, blindness works greatly in favour of the film, mainly because all of the actors shine in their roles, especially Rodriguez. Hence, it won’t come as a surprise to me if ‘Someone Great’ becomes a hit because everyone can find someone in this film that they will relate to. If that doesn’t make a film a success, then what does?