Romantic drama with a hint of coming of age is a unique combination. One is sure to come across very few films or television shows in this genre. “Somebody I Used to Know” perfectly fits this genre because here, the lead of the film comes across a dilemma and decides to find ways to deal with it, and she does the right thing by the end of it.
Ally was in love with Sean all her life when she lived in Leavenworth. They seemed to be a perfect couple. It was not made clear in the movie if they went to college together or not, but Sean and Ally’s love for each other was strong and deep. Unfortunately, they had to break up because Ally found her calling in documentary filmmaking, and she was not keen on giving it up. Sean, on the other hand, was too attached to the town he grew up in and keen on staying back with his parents. He was not ready to compromise on that, which made them go through a painful breakup. Ally had to choose what was right for her, and Sean did that too. They knew their future together looked bleak, but they did what was right for themselves. Ally here cannot be considered a selfish person because everyone out there looks out for themselves. And when their dream job comes knocking at their door, it is obvious anyone would choose that. Ally chose what was right for her and moved on. It was Sean who felt he was left behind and had a tough time getting over Ally. Ally never meant to hurt Sean. All she expected was for him to appreciate and acknowledge Ally’s struggle to have landed the job she always wanted.
Ally coming back to her hometown after a gap of a few years is a sign of her exhaustion from work. Even though she claims her overworking is not a problem at all, she knows a break would certainly help her clear her mind. But the thought of going back to the town where she grew up initially put her in a weird mood, but she took it up as a challenge. Running into the same people and heading to the same old pubs and gardens is something she is not ready to face. Ally had no option but to head on and face her old life. Her running into Sean years after the breakup was an event she was not expecting. Ally takes it in her stride and meets him. She blamed herself for the breakup for a while but moved on. It was Sean who had a tough time moving on, but thankfully, after a few years, he stayed away from being petty. Sean and Ally spend time together for the next twelve hours, giving Ally hope that maybe there is still a spark between them. Ally was hoping to get back together with him, just when she was told at Sean’s family gathering that Sean and his fiancé Cassidy were about to be married over the weekend. Ally is someone who generally wouldn’t be surprised at such shocks thrown at her, keeping in mind the field she works in, but she was rattled by the news of Sean’s marriage. She briefly lost hope of ever getting him back or the idea of starting something fresh with him now that she was back home and not knowing for how long. Ally might come across as selfish, but she was just hoping to get to know Sean better after all these years, and he would like to get to know the new version of herself.
Learning Sean had seeked her out at the bar makes her wonder if Sean indeed wants to stick to the relationship he is in or if he is just looking for a quick escape in the wake of the big commitment he will make during the weekend. Ally’s digging up on Cassidy and trying to find out more about Sean’s basic connection with Cassidy shows Ally in a bad light. She is forcefully meddling with their relationship and not letting them figure out their communication issues. She meddles with a strong relationship by forcefully making the couple talk and figure it out their issues. Ally’s intention was only to make sure Cassidy and Sean’s bond was weak, which would help her break it using an issue that has been bothering both. Ally is going forward to get what she wants, but she has not had a conversation with Sean about what he wants from her or his intention of meeting her right before his wedding weekend. She jumped on the bandwagon with the hope that Sean still wants her. Cassidy’s love for music and her non-existent relationship with her parents is what Ally was able to crack down on. Ally’s interference can be considered wrong at many levels, for Sean and Cassidy should have talked a long time ago. Ally’s stunt of asking Cassidy’s parents to attend the wedding was completely wrong. Cassidy’s reaction to her parents’ visit puts Ally in a bad mood and makes her realize that she should not have meddled in Cassidy’s personal life, no matter how much she wanted Sean to be with her. Family matters are personal and, at times, traumatic.
Ally wakes up from the fantasy she had created in her mind and asks Sean, not so politely, to figure out what he and Cassidy want from life and then to talk to her if he thinks he still likes Ally. Ally also has a talk with Cassidy about not messing with her career, which is music, just because she is getting married. If Sean loves her, he will accept her for who she is. Ally took a gamble by asking Cassidy to follow her dreams, but finally, Sean understood what Cassidy wanted, and they both decided to get married on the day they’d decided on. Ally does not stay back for the wedding because she knows that staying back is not the right thing to do. She breaks down over the heartbreak she faced but soon comes to terms with the fact that it was a closure she required, which she never got a few years ago. Ally’s trip turned out to be beneficial, knowing she could finally move on from Sean because theirs was the kind of love many dreamed of. Moving away from an emotional relationship is difficult, but Ally got the ending she was looking for. It was better Sean got married, which would mean he is moving on, and Ally should move on too. Ally was hanging on to Sean because this was one part of her past she was not willing to let go of. Something she held close to her heart. It reminded me of her days when there was no pressure to be the best. He was a memory of a time that was simple for her. But she had to go back to her actual life, which she loves. A detour was required to make her understand that it is probably better to let things go that are not in her control.
The movie is reminiscent of “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” but the treatment is completely different. Ally is self-centered, but she also learns her lesson of not intruding at the cost of other people’s feelings. Writers Alison Brie and Dave Franco blend in the element of women empowering each other and not pulling others down to march ahead like a charm. The writers did Ally right by making her back off from Sean’s life, showing off her becoming mature and moving ahead in life, and not being stuck in the past just because, for a brief while, you are going through a not-so-good time.