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REVIEW: ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ Is a Dark Look at the Idea of Romance

3.5/5 missed opportunities

Jay Ellis and Alison Brie almost kissing in Somebody I Used to Know

Alison Brie knows how to pick a romantic comedy and I honestly love her takes on them. Her new film Somebody I Used To Know that she co-wrote with husband Dave Franco (who also directed the movie) takes a look at the idea of the one who got away and deconstructs its mythos. Ally (Brie) works in television and is a woman who feels like she’s missing something in her life. So when her show is seemingly canceled, she has to return to her hometown where she reconnects with her old boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis).

Breaking from the typical format of reconnecting, finding your love reignited, and finally being back together, Ally realizes that maybe it’s not meant to be. The movie is set during Sean’s wedding to Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons) and while the two seem in love, we see the problems within their own relationship mixed with Ally trying to prove to Sean that they were really meant to be as some way of showing her understanding of what love actually is.

It is, in my opinion, in a similar vein to Sleeping With Other People in the sense that it is a romantic comedy that plays with the genre and forces you to ask questions about what you deem “romantic” because of the Hollywood movie lens thrown onto romance. And everything in Somebody I Used to Know that would typically feel like a grand romantic gesture feels odd and misplaced in a very strategic way. We’re forced to re-examine the ideas of romance that Hollywood had forced upon us as an audience and the film really makes you question what is for the best for Ally in the long run.

Not everyone has the one that got away

Why this movie works is because it’s forcing us to look at the idea of the one that got away through a critical lens. For Ally, she thinks that going back and fixing a relationship from her past will somehow make her current life upheaval worth it and it’s a fascinating breakdown of romantic pairings. It would have been so easy for this movie to be a perfect cut and dry case of Cassidy not being a good fit for Sean and Ally coming back is perfect timing.

This movie could have fallen right into the typical trappings of the rom-coms we know and love. But instead, it challenged what we thought about relationships and returning to someone you think “got away”. We were forced to examine whether or not that has ever been a good option and it was fascinating to see unfold.


Somebody I Used to Know is available on Prime Video now.

(Featured image: Prime Video)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.