Taylor Swift's "Midnights," SZA's "SOS," and Emily Henry's novel "Book Lovers," all date years ago, it's clear that 2023 is the year of women not apologizing for their relationship statuses, nor being neatly regulated to peppy Band-Aids like Galentine's Day to sooth the blow of the annual lovefest coupledom that is Valentine's Day. It's not our fault: We've made the
With "Somebody I Used to Know," Alison Brie and Dave Franco continue to push the unapologetic, workaholic single woman cult trend. (Yes, Julia Roberts' classic is name-checked in the film once audiences recognize the rhythm of a woman preparing to ruin a wedding.)
'Somebody I Used to Know' begins at what is usually the third act of a standard rom-com. Ally (Brie) chose her TV producer career rather than her hometown love Sean (Jay Ellis) and is returning home after losing a reality show gig and reevaluating her life choices now that she's thirtysomething and romantically alone. She neither immediately connects with Sean after her arrival in her German-speaking town.
Ally hasn't spoken to Sean in over a decade since their split, and Sean is always looking for local celebrity Ally at a pub to catch up for old time. Yet Sean deliberately ignores that he's engaged...a fact Ally only discovers once she opens the door to Sean's parents' house the next day.
Cassidy, a Seattle-based punk bandleader, is already ingrained in Sean's upcoming wedding to her younger sister, according to an unreality producer. Cassidy is also negotiating to release Sean's beloved wife from touring to begin a domestic life together.
Ally is determined to dump dirt and havoc on his groom Cassidy, who she claims to have separated her from her homophobic parents. She just needs something to focus on, manipulate, and conquer for the time being.
"Somebody I Used to Know"
Cassidy urges Ally at one point, perfectly timing the realization that yes, she's doing exactly what she's doing: she's been so busy focusing on what makes her happy, being a documentary filmmaker.
Sean complains that Ally "wasted" her past decade of professional success, ultimately submining her professional career. "Go back to your dismal, pathetic game show."
"Somebody I Used to Know" proves that this is not a film that we already knew, but one that is fine dissecting everything. Sean wants control and order. He does not need a partner, he wants a wife. What follows
“Somebody I Used to Know”
Brie and her real-life husband Franco co-wrote the script together, with Franco also directing. For those who have not already shared her dating stories, Brie is most likely to draw on her personal experiences for the #MeToo dark comedy "Spin Me Round," starring Aubrey Plaza, and "Horse Girl," both of which she wrote with Jeff Baena.
Ellis falls a bit as Sean, but is just charming enough to make us wonder if Sean really doesn't understand how manipulative he is. Amy Sedaris, Zoe Chao, Sam Richardson, and Jeanine Jackson provide comic relief (and a well-timed Brendan Fraser shoutout) as Sean's adoptive brother, with Amy Sedaris, Zoe Chao, Sam Richardson, and Jeanine Jackson lending a distinctive warmth to their roles.
'Somebody I Used to Know' doesn't equate a failed relationship to circumstance or poor choices. It's simply the respectful persistence of love even when the person isn't the one. It's one of the greatest takeaways we've ever had this year, to all women who wonder what if he weren't the one for you.
On Friday, February 10, "Somebody I Used to Know" will be available on Prime Video.