Film review: Breaking up is hard to do

A still from ‘Someone Great.’ (Supplied)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Film review: Breaking up is hard to do

  • The film explores the friendship of three women in New York
  • It also explores the personal lives of the two supporting characters

“Someone Great,” the story of a young music critic struggling to end a nine-year relationship, arrives on Netflix at a time when films on female bonding are not exactly common.

There may have been “Girls Trip” or “Rough Night,” but in “Someone Great,” writer-director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson digs deeper into the camaraderie that women share as they face a turning point in their lives, with Gina Rodriguez playing the carefree Jenny in a very different role from her 2014 “Jane the Virgin.”

The film focuses on three friends living it up for one last night in New York before Jenny leaves for a dream job in San Francisco. Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) try to comfort Jenny after a bad break-up with her former boyfriend Nate (Lakeith Stanfield). However, as the three women party through the night, Jenny struggles to keep memories of her former flame at bay.

However, “Someone Great” is not just about Jenny, but also looks at the dilemmas facing the two other central women, exploring their relationships and struggles, and neatly revealing their desire to break free as well as their inability to do so. They may play the typical “supportive best friends” that we are used to seeing in romcoms, but each has their their own problems — a refreshing approach in an often one-dimensional genre. 

Robinson, who had long wanted to make a movie on the influence of music on her life (the title is from a song with the same name), steers her story deftly, creating characters that young adults can identify with and delivering a sweetly sad narrative of fractured relationships. However, “Someone Great” is also painfully trendy at times, with a plot that is occasionally too light-headed to strike the right note.


What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson

Updated 17 August 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson

  • It mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions

Democracy establishes relationships of political equality, ones in which citizens equally share authority over what they do together and respect one another as equals. 

But in today’s divided public square, democracy is challenged by political thinkers who disagree about how democratic institutions should be organized, and by antidemocratic politicians who exploit uncertainties about what democracy requires and why it matters. 

Democratic Equality mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions, showing how equality of authority is essential to relating equally as citizens, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

James Lindley Wilson explains why the US Senate and Electoral College are urgently in need of reform, why proportional representation is not a universal requirement of democracy, how to identify racial vote dilution and gerrymandering in electoral districting, how to respond to threats to democracy posed by wealth inequality, and how judicial review could be more compatible with the democratic ideal.