‘Someone Great’ Gets it Right on Adulting, Representation, and Latina Identity


Growing up is hard to do. I’m not talking about those insane teenage years where everything feels like the end of the world, but rather that time in your life where you make those monumental decisions that will change the direction of your life forever. That period — between your late ’20s and ’30s — is not even just life-altering, it’s scary and thrilling all at the same time. Someone Great, out now on Netflix, is a snapshot of that very moment and it’s lovely.

The film starring Gina Rodriguez as Jenny tells the story of what it feels like when you go from carefree life to adulting overnight. The thing about getting everything you’ve ever wanted means that we also have to sacrifice those things we love the most about life. We have to leave the friends we love, the city we love, and that first real love. Why would anyone leave all of that for a dream job? Because that’s what growing up is, and Rodriguez encapsulates that brilliantly, as do her costars and BFFs, DeWanda Wise as Erin, and Brittany Snow as Blair.

Jenny is a music writer living in New York City, who like most people living their best life, is in a beautifully intimate relationship with Nate, played by the amazing Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out, Sorry To Bother You). The two have been together for years, and now that vulnerable union is over because Jenny got offered a job in San Francisco. Nate doesn’t want to do long distance, despite having every technological app that would make a long distance relationship doable. Now, Jenny, while feeling on top of the world thanks to this incredible new job, has to leave not only New York City but also her friends and her love.

Like many on social media who feel personally attacked by this movie, let me share with you why that is. I first would like to express why this is Rodriguez’s best role yet. We all know she’s funny. Her work on Jane the Virgin was groundbreaking. There just isn’t funny Latinas on TV, not nearly enough. On Someone Great, Rodriguez isn’t just hilarious, she’s authentic. It’s so refreshing to see her in a role where she is relatable, while also highlighting her talent. In this movie, audiences get to see her being silly, vulnerable, drunk, empowered, and it’s all fantastic.

So back to listing why this movie is so incredible and so needed. As you may know by now, I am a writer, yes, just like Jenny. I too had to leave it all behind to live my best life, and I had to do it twice! The first time I redirected my life was when I left California — my home, my family, my friends — all so that I could live in New York City and be a journalist. I, like Jenny, had the best life in New York. Sure, I was poor, and always drinking, but that was all part of my experience and I would never change that. I met friends for life, and we lived it up every single day. Even when we were hungover and binge shopping at Forever 21. Each day was the best. Even those days when I cried walking down Houston Street or felt sorry for myself by the East River or came home to a flooded basement in Williamsburg.

In the middle of living my best life in New York with the best job and the best friends, I also fell in love, but he didn’t live in New York. And, in my book: love trumps the best life in the city. Just the same way as Jenny left her best life, for the best job, I too left it all behind for a better life. So once again, I had to say goodbye to everything I ever loved about life for a new kind of love, and it’s the best choice I ever made. That is why this movie is so beautiful because a lot of us have been in those shoes. We have made those tough choices, even when it hurts.

This film gets it right. It’s more than a rom-com or a chick flick. It shows an independent, hardworking Latina, speaking bilingually, wearing a Latina AF T-shirt, in a biracial relationship, living a complicated life in a complex city. Someone Great is what authentic representation looks like, and what we need more of.  If you need any more reasons why you should watch this, perhaps this might do it: Rosario Dawson, RuPaul, Joe LoCicero (Rodriguez’s fiance), Questlove, are all in the movie. Also, the soundtrack is bomb — and it includes Selena’s “Dreaming Of You”! Also, at the end of the film, her letter is everything.

To all those women who haven’t made those life-changing decisions yet, know this: there are no mistakes, every single day happens for a reason, so make it count, live it up, and live your best life because you’re on your way.

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