Someone Great Review: Netflix’s perfect, new blend of rom-coms and coming of age
Netflix’s newest rom-com, Someone Great, breaks the conventional rom-com formula and provides a story full of fun performances, colorful style, and a genuine heart.
The film follows Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) as she deals with the heartache of her and her boyfriend of nine years, Nate (Lakeith Stanfield), breaking up just before she is about to move cross-country for a new job. With only a short time left in NYC, Jenny wants to have one last night with besties Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) before she leaves for good. However, with strong feelings towards Nate still looming in Jenny’s heart and her friends also dealing with problems of their own, their last night out might not go as smoothly as they want.
The lead performances from Rodriguez, Wise, and Snow are easily the highlights of the film and their characters go through some very touching growth. It’s very easy to just denote them as typical genre stereotypes because, well, that’s sort of how we are introduced to them. Jenny is clearly upbeat in order to hide her feelings, Erin is tough and closed off from being too emotional, and Blair is the “planner of the group and is so uptight that Jenny and Erin have to call out “Bad Blair” in order for her to loosen up. However, these stereotypes start to break as the night goes on and there’s actually some great messages about self-worth and growing up that creates a new kind of coming of age story.
Often times, coming of age films are associated with either high school students entering college or college students entering adulthood. However, with Someone Great, a new kind of coming of age occurs and is more centered on entering your 30s and entering a new kind of adulthood. There’s discussion between the three women about desiring for a long-term relationship, not meeting certain milestone goals, and even about going Farmers Markets in the morning rather than bars at night. It’s a different kind of mentality towards adulthood that I haven’t really seen in the genre and it’s what makes Someone Great a special kind of film.
Not to mention, it leads to some hilarious moments between the three women and each of their storylines are pretty impactful in delving into the film’s themes of adulthood. Jenny, obviously, is given the main story as we see her try to get over her long relationship with Nate ending through most of the film. As said before, Jenny is clearly more upbeat to hide her devastating feelings about her break-up and this gives Rodriguez the full opportunity to flex her strong comedic muscles. She utilizes every scene she’s in to create some hilarious moments and show Jenny’s more zany and fun side. Right from when we first meet Jenny talking to a random stranger, she only becomes funnier with some fun banter with Erin and Blair and a scene with Jenny hilariously singing along to Selena’s Dreaming with You in a convenience store.
Rodriguez also shows Jenny’s more vulnerable side when the film showcases her relationship with Nate through flashbacks that left me with mixed feelings. While the flashbacks are nice and have this interesting glow to them, I can’t help but feel like their nine-year relationship was just sort of brushed through. The film only touches on certain moments in their relationship so we only understand their relationship on the surface level and it puts the validity and seriousness of their relationship into question. Don’t get me wrong, Jenny’s devastation is completely understandable as anyone whose nine-year relationship just ended would probably react the same as her. However, the fact that after nine years that her and Nate don’t live together or that their relationship is barely shown made me question how strong their relationship even is.
Either way, that issue isn’t too distracting and, honestly, the lack of depth in the film’s central relationship doesn’t strain the film’s strong messages much as Erin and Blair stories are strong enough to round out the movie. Wise adds plenty of friendly spunk to the film with Erin’s attitude to always protect her friends and have a good time. Her performance is a lot of fun and her energy matches Rodriguez’s perfectly. Not to mention, her story of trying to begin a real relationship with her girlfriend Leah (Rebecca Naomi Jones) is nice to see and works really well with the film’s themes of growing up.
Blair’s story was actually incredibly interesting to me because of how much she annoyed me at first because of how uptight she was. However, I quickly realized how her uptightness is a part of her arc. Blair thinks that everything has to be planned out and that she has to be with her current boyfriend Will (Alex Moffat) even if she isn’t happy, but all of that changes throughout the film. She actually shares a similar journey with Jenny and, through Snow’s charming performance, becomes more independent and caring towards her friends.
The only real flaw or issue that really bugs me with Someone Great is how much the film tries to be “in the now” and relevant with pop culture references and music that’s a little too on the nose at times. The soundtrack, while adding an additional emotional layer to certain scenes, can feel a little annoying at times with how the lyrics literally match the scene. For example, the opening is pretty much a supercut of Jenny and Nate’s relationship and the song lyrics are literally “a supercut of us” and there are moments like this throughout the film. Nothing compares to the obnoxious amount of “in the now” references and dialogue that become incredibly annoying quickly. There’s a scene in particular with, what I can only assume is, the definition of a spoiled millennial that’s probably intended to be funny, but just infuriated me instead.
Even with some truly minor issues, Someone Great not only proves the strong talents of Rodriguez, Wise, and Snow, but also creates a new kind of coming of age story. It’s incredibly fun throughout and blends it’s rom-com tropes with some new-age storytelling to make it a definite must-watch on Netflix.