- BOTTOM LINE
Simple yet Engaging Chick-Flick
|Platform: Netflix||Genre: Comedy|
What is the Story about?
Someone Great is a coming of age chick-flick, which despite its regular storyline, has its heart at the right place. The film holds a mirror to modern day relationships through the eyes of three childhood buddies Jenny Young, Blair Helms, and Erin Kennedy who’re at crossroads in their lives. While the journalist Jenny has just called it quits with her boyfriend Nate and is unable to move on, Erin isn’t quite ready to commit to a serious relationship yet. Blair, unlike both, is in the middle of a non-happening, dull relationship. Before Jenny moves to California for her next assignment, she plans to have one final adventurous night at a concert with her BFFs, that only goes onto cement their bond further.
There’s hardly any doubt about Gina Rodriguez being the star-performer in the film. Her uncanny portrayal, tactfully balancing arrogance with her softer shades, is an asset to the film. She lights up the screen regardless of being happy, sad or broken. Brittany Snow and DeWanda Wise (who play Blair and Erin) share a wonderful camaraderie and they have a life-like enthusiasm in their performances that rubs onto the spirit of the film too.
There’s not much scope beyond the three female protagonists for a stellar performance here. However, if we have to pick someone noteworthy beyond the lead cast, it has to be LaKeith Stanfield (playing Jenny’s ex) who makes us relate to his character despite all its complexities and inconsistencies. Rebecca Naomi Jones, as Erin’s girlfriend, is equally charming in her brief appearance.
Jenniffer Robinson straddles her transition from new-age content for television to feature films with reasonable ease. Her no-nonsense filmmaking approach shows that she has enough mettle to strike a chord with big-screen audiences too. What the director misses out with the cliched story and the writing, she makes it up with its realistic treatment.
It’s especially interesting that she chose three characters to represent people who’re going through three different stages in their relationships. Her casting for the lead roles is spot-on, with the real find being Gina Rodriguez (who plays Jenny). However, it’s hard to understand why the director resorts to a few cliches in the process, especially the gay/lesbian-best friend to the straight girl/guy, the chick-flick girly melodrama about complications in relationships and the consistent use of expletives in an attempt to sound cool. But one thing the film does well is to normalise the life of the LGBT community and treating it as a non-issue.
The film’s New York backdrop helps its intentions, convincing us to buy the story of how three urban women lose their way out in life amid all the big-city cacophony. The film despite dealing with female-friendships talks about issues that are universal to relationships of all kinds. Particularly impressive, are the sequences where the director tells it’s okay to be selfish in life and place individual priorities above a relationship. Despite dealing with fickled men in the story, Someone Great never turns into a toxic male-bashing story at any point.
All along, a crisp, non-linear screenplay keeps us invested in the 90-minute-odd narrative. It’s a pleasant surprise to see a Hollywood chick-flick use its music so efficiently to take the story forward. However, we need to remind ourselves about the predictability of the genre before we set out to watch it. The title of the film somehow doesn’t resonate with its content at all.
Music and other departments?
Music is a significant reason behind the film warranting our attention. The songs are wonderfully used to depict the emotional state of the protagonists at different junctures and possess the raw-indie flavour that keeps the proceedings real and un-cinematic. That the filmmaker chose to end the film like a celebration in the form of a music concert is poetic. The dialogues are short and impactful, while the flow of the film is organic and smooth, thanks to the neat editing. Autumn Eakin, the cinematographer, stays true to the film’s intentions and aesthetics without going overboard.
A realistic take on modern-day relationships
Performances of the leads
The indie-music score
Nothing new in the story
A few cinematic cliches
Occasionally trying too hard to be cool
Will you recommend it?
Someone Great Review by Sivathsan Nadadhur