Something Borrowed, a chick flick produced by Oscar winner Hilary Swank and company, stars America’s sweetheart Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin as Darcy and Rachel, two best friends whose decades-long relationship is tested by love. The film is based on a novel written by Emily Giffin with the same title.
For those who have not yet read the book, the story focuses on aggressive golden girl Darcy Rhone, who pretty much has the world wrapped around her little finger, and her best friend Rachel White, a mousy, goody two shoes lawyer who has always lived in Darcy’s shadow, never for once questioning why she has always taken the back seat.
The movie opens with Darcy throwing Rachel a surprise 30th birthday bash at a happening bar in New York (where they both live), and stealing the thunder by announcing her engagement to Rachel’s classmate in law school (and the love of her life), Dexter Thaler. The filmmakers established early on Darcy’s love of the spotlight and shed light on the type of friendship that the two women share. After Rachel and Dex have one too many drinks at a bar, Rachel lets it slip that she had a crush on Dex when they were in college, a revelation that caught him off guard. Soon enough, the two find themselves jumping each other’s bones, and reigniting feelings they both had for each other before Darcy even came into the picture.
The movie was much better than the book mainly because of the excellent cast who pulled their weight and turned up a strong collective performance. It was also less complicated — the characters seemed to have left the emotional baggage that weighed down their literary counterparts and simply went about like normal young professionals in Manhattan. Dexter, played by Colin Egglesfield personified the successful young lawyer from a moneyed clan, who can charm the socks off any girl (if he chose to), Ginnifer Goodwin is already an expert on playing naive goody two shoes roles (She’s Not That Into You, Big Love), Kate Hudson was superb as the devil may care party girl Darcy, and John Krasinski was my favorite who played Ethan, the girls’ childhood friend and the only male oblivious to Darcy’s charms.
The story was slightly different but retained the main elements of the novel. Whereas in the book, Dex and Rachel carried on with an affair, in the movie, it was not a full blown relationship. They dated (secretly, of course) and talked a lot, and explored their feelings for each other, and made the betrayal more bearable. Ginnifer’s Rachel did not harbor any grudges against her best friend Darcy — just a sense of resignation whenever Darcy sought something that Rachel also wanted, which made her come out in the losing end with each encounter. In fairness to her, she was stronger character too, as she did try to resist Dex at the beginning. Movie Dex was a sweetheart but he was still a bit of a wus. In fairness to him, the movie added his parents to the storyline to strengthen his reasons behind sticking with his wedding to Darcy, plus he was so cute audiences will tend to forgive him his weaknesses.
The film was filled with a lot of romantic moments from Dex and from Rachel, especially when they talked and bared their feelings for each other (which incidentally went as far back as the first day of law school). This was reinforced by a lot of flashbacks that would make the female audience melt.
Also stealing the show was Ethan, who provided not just comic relief but also turned up a solid performance as a good friend who had Rachel’s back the entire time, even when there were times that Rachel took his advice for granted. I especially liked his line “I may be an asshole but I’m the only one in here who gives a sh’t about you!” I already knew how the story would end but I found myself wishing that Rachel would end up with him instead because he’s such a great guy.
Kate Hudson was the perfect Darcy, shallow, tactless and an attention whore, but audiences’ will find it hard to hate her because she is just so clueless about the many ways she abuses Rachel’s friendship. And she keeps deferring to Rachel’s superior intellect throughout the film, which gives audiences an insight on how she sees herself on that front. Marcus, Dex’s friend who Darcy keeps pushing at Rachel, in the book was a bit of a charmer, but the movie version was kind of gross. The guy seemed never to take a bath or change his clothes. Plus he’s obnoxious and immature to boot.
The movie provided closure in the relationship of Darcy and Rachel towards the end, unlike the book, so that was positive revision and made viewers more comfortable with the way things turned out. There was also a clip after the credits hinting at a sequel when Darcy follows Ethan to London (where the second book Something Blue takes place). I would think it would be a hoot to watch.
All in all, Something Borrowed will not win acting awards for any of its cast members, nor gain critical acclaim for the filmmakers. But its a story that speaks about friendship, and growing up and dealing with issues that weigh people down. Many of the audience will find themselves appalled by Rachel’s betrayal, but will find themselves sympathetic to her plight and perhaps see a bit of her (or Darcy) in themselves.
For a review on the book, click here Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin