A chick flick even men can enjoy, a good cast, and a film that’s all too real – here are 7 reasons I love the movie Something Borrowed.
A while ago (and I mean a while ago) I wrote a post entitled The Anatomy of a Chick Flick. In that post I wrote about what seems to be the standard format that all chick flicks follow. Being a guy with a lot of female friends, it’s only natural that I’ve been exposed to a lot of them over the course of time. Okay okay, I admit it, I do own a few. Not many, but a few. I find that a lot of chick flicks, because of their formula, are the female equivalent of the bimbo sidekick who accompanies and desperately falls in love with the male action hero in a lot of action movies (especially pre-2000s). The characters are specifically designed to cater towards particular insecurities and desires, which is a lot more evident when you aren’t in the target market.
When conversation about chick flicks that men can watch and enjoy come up, a few get mentioned. There was the Avengers style He’s Just Not That Into You. There’s The Holiday with a Hans Zimmer soundtrack and a few more notable actors in it. There’s the so called “man flick” 500 Days of Summer… most women I know actually don’t like that movie too much, cause it’s too much about the guy side. All I can say is that one is too real.
And in the same conversation about movies that are too real, there is the movie Something Borrowed.
Now I’ve gotta tell you – I love this movie. There are so many reasons why I will rewatch it every now and again and it sits in my “Excellent Movies” section (yes, I have categories… if you’ve seen my bookcases of movies, you’ll know I’m not lying). Why you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked. This is one of the best movies on relationships Hollywood has ever produced, in my opinion. This post is going to go into the movie in depth, so spoilers everywhere if you haven’t seen it.
A Quick Overview
Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) has just turned 30, and her best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson) has thrown her a “surprise” birthday party. Along with their childhood friend Ethan (John Krasinski), they celebrate alongside Rachel as she is overwhelmed by the feelings of aging – “I’m past my prime childbearing years”. Soon she has a conversation with Dex (Colin Egglesfield), Darcy’s fiance and her law school study buddy, and also the man she fell in love with. After a mistake of opportunity leads them to an affair after the party, they are forced to face feelings they have never acted on, the betrayal of their mistake, and the impact it has on all of their lives moving forwards. As it turns out, Dex had always loved Rachel, but one fateful conversation towards the end of their uni career leads him to think he remains in the friendzone, and believes she is setting him with up with her best friend Darcy.
If you haven’t seen it, I know, heavy start, right? Essentially the movie takes us on a journey from there where Dex and Rachel are ultimately confronted with all the words they never said to each other, and it is a fascinating, painful look at how they move forward from here.
On to the reasons I love it. Here we go!
#1: John Krasinski
For those who don’t know, John Krasinski is a boss. I loved him in The Office (see my list of best The Office moments with a lot of them featuring good ol Jim Halpert here), he was cool in Aloha and The Holiday, and he even had a really good stint recently in 13 Hours directed by Michael Bay. He brings his standard comedy here, but his excellent ability to portrayal tragic realism too.
#2: Cause it’s too real
You know, I actually hated this movie when I first saw it. I was furious at the end of it. It had so many moments in it where the characters just really needlessly hurt each other, and it reminded me of quite a few situations I had seen recently where a lot of what happened in the movie happened to people in real life.
And then after a few days of finding myself still thinking about what had happened in the movie, I started to realize how truly brilliant the movie is at portraying the reality of our relationships.
#3: It represents every side extremely well
One of my pet hates with most rom-com chick flick type movies (which this movie falls under, although definitely more on the Rom than the Com side, although it is present), is their oversimplification of what happens in reality, and their quant disregard for the reality of what’s happening in the man’s life on the other side of the main character. None of that in this movie though.
This movie shows Rachel’s struggle with letting other people speak over her, her constant preference to other people’s desires over hers, her struggle with turning 30, her involvement in her career, and her constant regret for so many of the moments she had an opportunity to say what she really meant (more on that later). It shows Darcy as one of those girls who gets whatever she wants, is the popular one, but also the one who has her own struggles and moments of weakness too. The dynamic between Rachel and Darcy shows two girls who’ve grown up together but have elements of each other that they just take advantage of too often, and especially when this whole affair is eventually discovered by Darcy. I feel like Ginnifer Goodwin just picks roles where she can portray the real struggles women go through, and she is a top notch expert on the subject it would seem.
As for the men, well, this is where I am equally impressed. Dex is shown to have attempted to be forward with Rachel, but was misguided by the words that she had spoken leading him to believe she just wanted to stay friends. At the moments when people may yell at him during the flashbacks of their younger years, “Go get her!!!”, the movie is very plain in revealing why he didn’t, or hasn’t, whether right or wrong. Even when their relationship starts to blossom again, he has the pressure of his parents and of course Darcy to keep the commitment he has made and held for the last few months. Their childhood friend Ethan is also shown to be the voice of reason, constantly reminding Rachel that Dex still isn’t fully choosing her, even though he himself has loved Rachel since their teen years, and has never said or done anything about it.
The script is fantastic at all this and more, and even down to the little camera angles, like when Rachel was having her first date with Dex during uni, and how she focused immediately on how close his hand was getting to hers, showing her desire for there to be something more – this movie shows you exactly how it is from everyone’s perspective.
#4: It shows the pressure on our decisions
I absolutely love how brutal this movie is with regards to the things we feel pressure us to keep things inside or to make certain decisions. Rachel is shown to be in constant conflict throughout her whole life with herself about whether or not she can ask for what she really wants. “Darcy always wins, that’s what she does!”. Dex is shown to be pressured into making certain decisions because his father is a hard man and his mother is quite sick, and he feels the pressure to be a strong man and keep things moving forward, even if he doesn’t really love the woman he proposed to. Even in his career, he feels the pressure to be a lawyer because that’s what he feels he’s expected to do, even though his whole life he’s dreamed of being a teacher. Darcy, in a similar vein, is shown to be a heart looking for love, even making her own mistakes following Dex’s sudden distance in their relationship.
Yet I love that none of the characters are shown to be truly justified in the way they’re acting. Which leads me to the next point.
#5: A little bit right and a whole lot wrong
I don’t glorify the decision to have an affair at all, or any of the mistakes people make throughout the movie. But I do like how this provides us an excellent case study and example of what really happens in a lot of our relationships, whether we like them or not. I don’t feel like this movie ever shows that any of the characters are justified in the way they treat each other. So many people get hurt as the result of each other’s actions. It’s a great learning opportunity.
One of my favourite things to do is to watch this movie with both men and women in the room. Because of how realistic this movie is, anyone watching it for the first time is very verbal about their frustrations with people’s actions throughout the movie, and hearing what men and women have to say about how we relate to each other is absolutely fascinating, even if it is sometimes a little heartbreaking.
#6: Not your fairtytale resolution here
On that note, I don’t think this movie necessarily has a happy ending. Yes, Dex and Rachel eventually get together after Dex finally realizes he’s always wanted Rachel and actually has a chance to say something, and Rachel also finally asks for what she asks for and reveals how she’s felt about him for so long… oh, and Darcy and another character have an affair of their own. Ethan moves to London after realizing he never had a chance with Rachel, and goes on to be a writer like he’s always wanted to be, and finally reveals his feelings to her… where she still wants to choose Dex. The movie ends with a scene in which the betrayal between friends and lovers is finally realized leaves Darcy and Rachel hating each other and not speaking to each other for ages, and Darcy not actually getting together with the person she had her fling with.
Too real. Why do we do that to each other?
#7: Because it is a desperate plea to all of us to say what we really mean
Ultimately, the main reason I love this movie is this.
It’s a movie begging us to say what we really mean.
Rachel and Dex on their first date were finally beginning to do something about their love for each other. When Darcy shows up uninvited, she tells Dex to man up and ask Rachel on a real date. “Darcy, we’re just friends…” – the line that ruins their relationship and sets them on opposite paths until the mess all happens. Dex runs after Rachel and asks if she’s okay with Darcy now trying to get with Dex, and Rachel says, “Oh yeah, she’s great”.
Dex is hardly innocent, proposing to a woman he doesn’t really love, and also withholding his true care for Rachel the whole time.
And Ethan, portrayed to be the loving voice of reason and the “good friend” – even he had withheld the fact he’d loved Rachel his entire life. At the start of the movie, Rachel even says to Ethan, “Why won’t you marry me?”. Ethan stupidly replies, “Cause I like you too much”.
And all their lies and half-truths lead each other into making decisions of moving on, when maybe they wouldn’t have had to if they had just spoken up earlier. And a whole mess of pain, hurt and confusion could have been avoided with a little more honesty.
I wonder if you and I say what we really mean. When it comes to relationships, are we always honest and upfront about how we really feel and what we’re really thinking? Or I wonder if like the characters in this mess of a love situation, we withhold the truth, and we miss the opportunities staring us in the face.
The gift of love is the most beautiful thing that humanity can ever experience. We were all made for love. Let’s do whatever we can to ensure we don’t get in our own way.
And that, my friends, is why the movie Something Borrowed is one of the best movies in my opinion. Especially for Reason 7, it is one of the most poignant reminders of how our words can affect others to me.
Hey, if you haven’t seen it, there’s a lot of the story I still left out, and the journey towards the end is definitely worthwhile. I noticed it’s currently streaming on NetFlix, so go check it out if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to buy the Bluray yourself.
How about you? Did you love this movie, or hate it?