“How to Be Single” Was Actually Really Great?

I know what you’re thinking: How could that movie possibly be good? I know that the first time we all watch this trailer, we don’t think too highly of the movie already.

Unfortunately, when you’re on Long Island and it’s raining and you’ve already eaten all of the junk food you can possibly eat, but you still want to go out with friends, you must suck it up and go see movies like this. Walking into the theater and reclining my fancy seat all the way back (because apparently that’s a thing now), I expected a lot of Rebel Wilson falling, unrealistic portrayals of living in New York, raunchy jokes, and a nice love story to tie it all together. I definitely had the first three ideas right, which probably explains why we didn’t see this film at the Academy Awards a few weeks ago. But that “nice love story” wasn’t at all what I expected, and that’s why this movie turned out to be actually good. Disclaimer: Remember that this is me, a 19-year-old girl in New York, saying this is good. This movie is in no way good by general standards. But if you are young and simultaneously think about boys 5839472864 times a day and are trying to develop technology so that males are not needed on this planet anymore, this one’s for you!

The best part about How to Be Single is that (SPOILER ALERT)  by the end of the movie, the main character, Alice, is–wait for it–STILL single! I didn’t even know that was allowed in a movie like this. Alice (Dakota Johnson) has three boys in her life throughout this movie: Josh, her long-term college boyfriend who she chose to take a break with, which then backfired on her when Josh ended up in a relationship with someone else; Tom, the player Alice sleeps with on her first night out, and who refuses to keep cups or water in his apartment so that hungover girls leave quickly in the morning; and David, Alice’s very short-term boyfriend who ends the relationship when Alice and his young daughter sing a song that his dead wife once sang, and he has too much emotional baggage and grief to go on with this relationship.

Poor Alice can’t get it right with any of these guys, or ANY guys for that matter. Rebel Wilson’s character Robin even confronts Alice about it at her birthday party, saying that she becomes too emotionally invested in finding relationships, that when she meets a man, she falls into his “dicksand.” Like quicksand, but, well, you get it I think. Alice brushes this off, but then Josh arrives to the party. He pursues Alice and she gives in instantly, and as they make out in some abandoned attic, Josh reveals that he is engaged but missed Alice, and needed “closure.” Alice realizes that Robin was right and finally realizes that she needs to be alone. She can’t find love until she learns to love herself and being alone!

Corny, I know. But I didn’t think that would be the end. I thought there would be an ending that proves “You’ll find the one when you stop looking” or “It happens when you least expect it.” I thought she would meet a guy while she was reading in a coffee shop, or grocery shopping, or drops all of her things in a crowded place and receives help from a really hot guy.

But that really was the end. Yes, Alice’s sister ends up with the perfect love story, but we all know that someone had to have that. Alice ends up alone and travels to hike in the Grand Canyon, something that is on her bucket list for the whole movie. (I already told you that this movie isn’t actually good! ) The movie ends with Alice standing on a cliff overlooking the entire Grand Canyon. Maybe the movie implied that Alice wouldn’t be alone forever, but that doesn’t matter. Alice ended the movie completely alone, and she seemed okay with it.

It reminded me of Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck and what it did wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved that movie. But in Man Repeller’s Oh Boy! podcast, host Jay Buim interviewed Karley Sciortino of the blog Slutever, who talked about how disappointed she was with Amy Schumer. She liked how Amy Schumer’s character was this slutty “train wreck” of a character, but by the end, she meets a man who takes her away from that. He fixes her from her sluttiness and she lets him!

How to Be Single was not nearly as funny or even as good as Trainwreck, but its ending was so much more realistic, inspiring, and, dare I say, more feminist?

I’m not saying that Gloria Steinem will go see this movie and give it five stars. But if you’re a young self-proclaimed feminist who still thinks about boys a little too often to feel ready enough to defeat the patriarchy, you might get something out of How to Be Single. And even if you don’t, you’ll at least get to watch Rebel Wilson fall down five-too-many times from the comfort of your reclining movie theater seat.


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