Someone Great is a great movie. It’s not 12 Years A Slave or Star Wars: A New Hope but it succeeds and exceeds expectations about what it’s trying to do.
There was Jenny and Nate, and now there is not. The movie chronicles the torturous twenty-four hours post-breakup from Jenny’s perspective in funny, witty, soulful moments. While it has a familiar rhythm it does subvert expectations, and it excels most when it paints itself most truthfully in today’s weird dating climate.
The cast is a murderer’s row of talent, headlined by superstar Gina Rodriguez. Each year between her critically-acclaimed hit show Jane The Virgin (yes, it’s that good) Rodriguez makes a big flashy Hollywood movie. There was the Mark Whalberg action flick Deepwater Horizon, the Natalie Portman sci fi Annihilation and the animated ventures Ferdinand and Carmen Sandiego. Once her show wraps up its fifth and final season this year Rodriguez will have the time to dominate Hollywood even further. Without Rodriguez’s consummate performance the sad themes of the movie would feel like pity porn and the big heart of the main character would be lost behind the enormity of the breakup, but her vulnerable turn as Jenny makes these big feelings relatable.
Not that the movie takes itself too seriously. There’s an element – say, ten percent – of the film that’s a Seth Rogen movie genderswapped. These girls skip work. They drink hard. They buy party drugs and go to concerts. They aren’t perpetually tortured souls but there is shit that needs sorting.
The core trio is rounded out by Dewanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have it) and Brittany Snow (The Pitch Perfect Trilogy). Their characterisations are so strong and well-written that it emboldens the whole movie, stepping sideways for brief moments to observe each woman’s individual crisis. While none are as extreme as the termination of Jimmy and Nate it lets the movie ebb and flow more naturally.
The supporting cast deserve a quick shoutout, from scene-stealing Jaboukie Young-White (Rough Night) to the effortless Rosario Dawson (Defenders) to the cringey Alex Moffat (Saturday Night Live). Questlove cameoed. Even the needs-no-introduction RuPaul Charles dropped a scene as a drug dealer, bringing a lightness and joy needed to contrast the enormity of Jenny’s loss.
To contrast, Lakeith Stanfield excellently rips the audience’s heart out as the equally idolised and villainised Nate. From Atlanta to Dope and now Someone Great, his filmography is quietly turning out gems.
Someone Great is a great film to watch at home in your pyjamas and commiserate about lost love, even if that’s not where you’re at today. The cast is phenomenal and their chemistry is electric, bringing a cathartic joy to a really painful subject matter. Gina Rodriguez has done it again.
Review by Mark Halyday