illustration of the three main characters of "Someone Great" with a peeling parental advisory sticker in the lower right corner
Design by Sara Fang.

There’s a scene near the end of “Someone Great,” where Jenny (Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin”) sits at the fountain in Washington Square Park, talking with her two best friends about the end of her nine-year relationship. “I thought if I could just keep everything the same, then nothing would change, but everything’s changing,” she says. “I don’t know life without this.”

The “everything” she’s referring to is truly everything: Outside of the breakup, Jenny is preparing to move to San Francisco for her dream job, while her best friends Erin (DeWanda Wise, “She’s Gotta Have It”) and Blair (Brittany Snow, “Pitch Perfect”) stay behind in New York City. I’d seen the film before, but as I sat on my living room couch with my own best friends, and as someone who is also learning that some relationships don’t last — romantic or otherwise — I couldn’t help tearing up during this rewatch. Somehow, in its 92-minute runtime, the film had taken almost every thought and experience I’d had in the last month and a half and turned them into a story. Into a masterpiece.

“Someone Great” follows Jenny on her first day following her breakup with Nate (LaKeith Stanfield, “Judas and the Black Messiah”), which is also one of her last days in New York. In an effort to have one last adventure, Jenny, Erin and Blair traipse all around the city trying to score tickets to the music festival Neon Classic; these scenes are interspersed with flashbacks of Nate and Jenny’s relationship, from beginning to end. The film is a subverted romantic comedy — not just because it’s about a breakup, but because the girls’ friendship is at the center far more than romance. Its portrayal of female friendships, major life transitions and the aftermath of a breakup is so realistic that I have to applaud it, even though it makes me cry with every watch.

Plenty of female trios exist in the media. Cher, Dionne and Tai from “Clueless.” Monica, Rachel and Phoebe from “Friends.” Elena, Caroline and Bonnie from “The Vampire Diaries.” Their friendships are entertaining as hell to watch, whether they’re fighting supernatural forces or navigating high school drama. The ladies of “Someone Great” join a long lineup of iconic girl groups, and writer/director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (“Do Revenge”) makes them feel fresh and genuine. The dialogue in the film is incredibly true to conversations that real-life, longtime friends might have — in one scene, Erin asks Blair if she has “stressarrhea,” to which Blair angrily responds, “That was one time!” Meanwhile, during our own movie night, one of my friends very excitedly pointed at my TV screen after hearing this line and started mouthing “that’s me!” because she had been talking about bowel issues earlier that same day. Jenny, Erin and Blair are allowed to be unfiltered with each other since they’ve been friends for almost a decade; as someone who tends not to think before I speak when I’m with my closest friends, I get a sense of validation from scenes like this one.

Whether it’s FaceTiming while on the toilet or calling each other out for immature choices, the girls’ ability to be unfiltered makes their friendship stronger. Sure, some of the harder conversations they have in the film are in the middle of a fight — Erin accuses Jenny of going to Neon Classic only to see Nate when he’s the one who broke up with her, which prompts Blair to point out Erin’s own issues in relationships — but sometimes you need to hear the hard truth out loud in order to make a change. Wouldn’t you rather hear it from someone who knows you deeply and loves you?

My friends and I tried assigning each character to each other, like people commonly do with the “Friends” girls. Ultimately, we decided we were a little bit of each one. I’m like Jenny in that I love things and people very deeply; I’m like Blair in that I like having routines but have felt a need lately to break out of them; I’m like Erin in that I am a little afraid to grow up, even though I know I have to.

The film also handles transition stages with grace and nuance. Jenny is moving to San Francisco to write for Rolling Stone, a dream she’s been chasing since college. She’s made lots of sacrifices to get there — in an early flashback, she tells Nate about an offer to write about the music she wants, though only for $20 an article — but pay isn’t all she has to give up. Moving across the country is a huge change, not just for Jenny but for everyone she knows. It’s the final straw in her already-strained relationship with Nate, and serves as a wake-up call for Erin and Blair, who are facing their own transitions as well. Erin has been seeing a girl for several months but is afraid to fully commit to a relationship because of past experiences. Meanwhile, Blair envisions herself married by 30 but is stuck in a dull routine in her own relationship. All three of them are given opportunities to reinvent themselves over the course of the movie.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I might fall on this spectrum. I am certainly familiar with transition stages at the moment: I just graduated college. I know what I want to do with my life — I want to write — but I’m not sure yet how to get to the point where I actually make that into a career. I’m caught at a crossroads where I want to move out of my hometown, while simultaneously being terrified of the thought and being tired of letting fear run my life. Some of my closest relationships over the past year will be, or have already been, reduced to nothing more than the viewing of social media updates and the occasional surface-level text, and I hate to think about it. But it’s a reality I am quickly getting used to — one of my best friends recently moved to California; another will soon be studying in France. It’s not so much that I’m afraid of doing it alone; I know that on the most basic level I never will be, and that it’s good to do some things on my own anyway. I also know that as long as both sides put in the effort to maintain our friendships, they won’t fade, and I will surely make new friendships wherever I end up that are just as strong. That knowledge doesn’t make thinking about endings any less scary. 

Emotions run wild after any breakup. It’s somehow possible to be both upset and grateful that the relationship happened in any capacity. There’s a bit of disillusionment as well when coming to terms with an ending — at the beginning we’re told that Nate broke up with Jenny because he didn’t want to go long distance, but over the course of the film, the real cracks of their relationship begin to show. It is absolutely devastating to watch Jenny silently realize that things aren’t working, months before the relationship ends and almost an hour before she says so out loud to Blair and Erin. 

But there’s also an aspect of self-discovery involved. Jenny was with Nate for almost a decade; he says as much while breaking up with her. “Ever since college, we’re all we’ve known,” he tells her. “We need to live our own lives.” With her new job and her move added into the mix, Jenny is given an entirely clean slate to figure out who she is at this new stage of her life. Again it sounds terrifying, at least to me, but sometimes the only thing you can do is whisper “I love you” from one end of a crowded room and then walk away.

Someone once asked me if I write as a way of gaining control when I don’t have it, if I’m trying to make sense of the muddling thoughts in my head by putting them to a page. Maybe that’s what this is. If so, then it might be the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever written. But I can’t praise this film for being unfiltered and then not allow myself that same grace.

Maybe this whole thing is a love letter — to my friends, to that one person, to myself. If Jenny can do it, so can I.

Maybe all of these things can be true at once. 

As it neared midnight in my dimly lit living room, my friends and I found ourselves laughing an almost alarming amount despite our gut-wrenching movie night pick. Phoebe Bridgers’ “Scott Street” is not “uplifting pop music,” despite what the Netflix subtitles might tell you. The French monarchy came up in conversation briefly, as Louis XIV was part of a trivia question earlier that evening. There were several times that I worried I would throw up from laughing so hard. Though the movie’s credits were rolling, our night was far from over — having a sleepover on the living room floor as 22 year olds felt just as cinematic.

Endings are a part of life. Whether it’s moving out of a first apartment, friendships drifting apart or saying goodbye to a partner, not everything is supposed to last forever. It breaks my heart to accept that this might be true. But as one character puts it to Jenny, that broken heart is actually a blessing. The emotions I feel in these transition stages are not only valid, but they’re also a sign that I’ve lived and loved. These people and these memories have made me who I am now, and I’ll always have love for them in some way. 

That being said, not everything lasts forever, but some things will. I have full confidence that my best friends will keep those titles for the rest of our lives. My love for writing has stuck around this long; something is very wrong if that ever disappears. I intend to leave my hometown and fully experience living on my own. Maybe I’ll move to Chicago, or Boston. I’ll build new relationships wherever I go — romantic or otherwise — and some of those will endure (or if not, I hope I at least get better at letting them go). “Someone Great” may be a film about endings, but it’s also a film about beginnings. I’m grateful to have rediscovered it at this point in my life, to have understood it in a new way. Somehow, 92 minutes (and almost 1900 words) later, my future already seems a little bit less scary.

Daily Arts Writer Hannah Carapellotti can be reached at