New Netflix Original Film ‘Someone Great’ is the directorial debut of television writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. The film stars Gina Rodriguez as a freelance music writer, Jenny, who has just secured a new job in San Francisco. The celebrations are short lived though as Jenny’s long term boyfriend, Nate, played by Lakeith Stanfield decides he doesn’t want a long distance relationship and breaks up with her. Luckily Jenny’s two best friends are on hand to make sure she doesn’t leave for her new job without one last adventure in the big apple.
Set mainly over the course of one day ‘Someone Great’ focuses on Jenny’s breakup and the subsequent fallout from this more than anything else. In a lot of romantic comedies this inevitable element would simply take up a small section of the narrative but here it’s the main device moving the plot forward. The film uses flashbacks to give the audience an idea of Jenny and Nate’s relationship and this technique works really well for giving viewers that impression without having to fully play it out. In many ways the material here is your standard rom-com fare but it feels much more mature than what we’re used to and incredibly relatable as well. Its spotlight on these three characters in the midst of that awkward time where you’re definitely an adult but don’t feel completely grown up is illuminated so acutely. As a result the film’s emotional ability might take you by surprise, delivering a far more emotive finale than you’d maybe expect from the latest Netflix rom-com.
What’s even better about ‘Someone Great’ though is the way in which Robinson has developed her three main characters. It’s so rare to see a collection of characters in this genre sharing the screen like this, each with their own story unfolding in what feels like a natural and even way. Rodriguez’s Jenny is the main character but her friends Blair, Brittany Snow and Erin, DeWanda Wise are very much part of this story too, they aren’t just here for support. It’s remarkable how Robinson gives each of them the time to have their own moments, especially considering the standard ninety minute running time. Making sure that their stories never feel shoehorned in or in any way like an afterthought to the main narrative. These stories for the supporting characters don’t feel separate, instead they’re just another part of this friend groups collective narrative and Robinson manages this incredibly well. Her cast are wonderful too, bringing to life her writing with enthusiasm and confidence demonstrating their effortless chemistry from the get go.
With several high profile cameos to boast too ‘Someone Great’ is full of fun scenes that help its pace and energy. It might be easy to cast it aside as just another rom-com but this is an assured debut from Robinson that brilliantly captures a bewildering time for many. It’s narrative impressively showcases relationships and romance through the lens of several different personalities, intensities and circumstances providing an entertaining and affecting entry into the genre.
Written by Hamish Calvert
Rating – 7.5/10
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