While the romantic comedy genre is often felt to have come to a dead end, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson’s Someone Great invites its audience to rethink. More so, the writer-director’s debut shows the possibilities that await in the genre’s present and future.
There is no arguing that Someone Great is a romantic comedy, as it is about romance. However, for all it’s worth, it is not a romantic film. Robinson’s directing and screenwriting debut exists at the other end of the spectrum of romantic gestures and meet cutes: heartbreak. Therefore, in what rather is a post-romantic comedy that speaks about life after breaking up, the film’s set-up is quite different from other rom-coms: no prince charming, no “will they won’t they”, no third act reconciliation (and, believe me, no spoilers here!).
Robinson makes use of what initially reads just like another story about heartbreak to dismantle the usual central roles of romantic heroines and heroes in genre films and is more interested in how female friendships prove to be support systems even in the hardest of times. While the director allows main character Jenny’s (Gina Rodriguez) love story with her ex Nate (LaKeith Stanfield) to play out for the audience, all of it is shown in flashbacks and time lapse. In the present day, the two most important people in Jenny’s life take front and center: her girlfriends. Excitingly portrayed as a free spirit with a fear of commitment and a pretend-uptight bore with a five-year-plan revealed to be an adventurous woman of desire, Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow) bring diversity to the film on all levels–how they are portrayed as characters, how they are played by their actors, and how their ideas of relationships counter each other’s. As Erin and Blair stick with Jenny through her hardest time, it transpires that it’s these two who will last above and beyond into the next chapter in Jenny’s life. Therefore, friendship in Someone Great is quite unexpectedly the true romance. It is the theme of friendship that Robinson is able to examine in a unique way in the very varied rom-com genre: stuck right between its central love story, and therefore at the center itself.