“Someone Great” and Other Millennial Rom-coms

Netflix (2019)

“Someone Great” is a Netflix original movie starring Gina Rodriguez, DeWanda Wise, and Brittany Snow. The film introduces us to Jenny (Gina Rodriguez), a late 20s woman who has recently broken up with her long-term boyfriend Nate, played by LaKeith Stanfield. Immediately we know that this isn’t going to be your classic romantic comedy.

We know this because the romance in the movie isn’t centered around Jenny and her ex-boyfriend or a random new fling with a hot guy she meets at the coffee shop, but around the bond that she shares with her two best friends. I think this movie definitely plays into a larger trend that we’ve been seeing in the rom-com genre. In the past few years we’ve seen the rise of what some are calling, the “millennial rom-com”. I think of these films more as the anti rom-com.

The anti rom-com doesn’t rely on the romance tropes of yesteryear where the two main characters meet while out doing random everyday things, go through a brief moment of emotional turmoil where they “will they/won’t they” us to DEATH only to end up together and live happily ever after off screen. Nope! The new romantic comedy is all about a different kind of love. These films are about falling in love with life, falling in love with yourself, and cherishing the love that you share with your friends. It’s all about the joyeux de vivre.

I’d say this trend started sometime around the release of “500 Days of Summer”. Remember how upset my know nothing teenage friends and peers everyone was that Zooey Deschanel’s character had the AUDACITY to leave Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the dust after he’d done nothing but profess his loOoOve to her? It was the talk of the town! In our minds, that was not how the story was supposed to go.

Up until that point Hollywood had taught us that If a man is nice to you and good looking and you both just so happen to like a song from 1963 that nobody else has heard, then obviously you’re meant to be together FOR-EV-ER.

We were all really triggered by 500 days because for the first time the guy and girl didn’t end up together, and not because one of them died (looking at you Walk to Remember) but because the woman decided that wasn’t what she wanted. Hollywood pulled up the blinds, let in the light, and showed us what we certainly knew but didn’t want to admit.

Sometimes relationships end and nobody is at fault.

In “Someone Great” Jenny has two best friends, her career is taking off and she’s been offered a new opportunity across the country. While she mourns the breakup, she is ultimately able to let go and move one because she knows that Nate was an important part of her life, but he was just a part of it. A fragment of a whole.

By the end of the movie Jenny knows that she could beg Nate to get back together and he would probably try again to make it work. She also knows why she can’t do that. The relationship has run it’s course. Nate isn’t her happily ever after (hate that term) happy ending (that one too) end all be all, and there’s plenty of life to be lived outside of what they had together.

Now, I still love a classic romantic comedy (you can pry my “Serendipity” DVD from my cold dead hands) but a new day has definitely dawned on the genre and I’m more than open to it.

Favorite moments

The entire dance scene in the kitchen to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”.

Any scene with DeWanda Wise.

Sleeping in Washington Sq Park.