On Sunday night I went to see Something Borrowed, with several of my girlfriends. I read the book, by Emily Giffin, several years ago at the urging of Miss Rose, Miss PoliSci, and Miss H. If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie yet, BEWARE OF SPOILERS ahead.
A summary from Goodreads:
“Rachel White is the consummate good girl. A hard-working attorney at a large Manhattan law firm and a diligent maid of honor to her charmed best friend Darcy, Rachel has always played by all the rules. Since grade school, she has watched Darcy shine, quietly accepting the sidekick role in their lopsided friendship. But that suddenly changes the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel finally confesses her feelings to Darcy’s fiance, and is both horrified and thrilled to discover that he feels the same way. As the wedding date draws near, events spiral out of control, and Rachel knows she must make a choice between her heart and conscience. In so doing, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.”
I enjoyed the film, and really enjoyed seeing it with some of my fave ladies. I thought it was pretty accurate to the book and well-cast. (John Krasinski is not surprisingly hilarious and Ginnifer Goodwin is adorable, as usual. I’m not entirely sold on Kate Hudson as Darcy but we’ll see how that pans out in the follow-up film — if they make it, Something Blue.) But something about it completely rubbed me the wrong way. I remember feeling similarly about the book.
As you can gather from the summary above, Rachel (GG) starts having an affair with Dex (the delicious Colin Egglesfield) who is engaged to her lifelong bestie Darcy (KH). The way the book is written and the way the story is told in the movie seems to urge the reader/viewer to pull for Rachel to win the heart of Dex, to the detriment of her best friend. As someone who adores her friends and values all of their friendships, there is something about it that feels so wrong. The movie does not play up Rachel’s moral dilemma as much as the book does (it would be hard to do), but still, Rachel ultimately chooses her own happiness at the expense of the person she has loved the most. It really gets under my skin. I cannot imagine doing that to a friend, or even worse, what it would feel like for a friend to do it to me.
On the flip side, Rachel is so easy to relate to — nice, smart, rule-following good girl who has always felt like she lived in Darcy’s shadow. You want her, the unlikely victor, to get the super hot wonderful guy that Darcy seemingly does not deserve or appreciate. Every girl has had a friend who is personified by Darcy’s character, a self-centered frenemy to whom life just comes easier. Some small, slightly evil part of me, does not feel badly for Darcy when she finds out about Rachel and Dex. And then I feel insanely guilty about thinking even for a second that any woman deserves to be treated that way by another woman, especially one she loved enough to call maid-of-honor.
In the movie, things wrap up really nicely for Rachel and Dex. Sure, Rachel loses Darcy but it doesn’t seem to bother her all that much because she got the guy. (Don’t even get me started on the message that sends.) I know it is unrealistic because it’s a movie, but come on, this is really unrealistic. Cheating and calling off weddings and ending friendships is so messy, but it really isn’t portrayed that way. I feel like in a way the movie and book glorify cheating or at the very least, offer the justification that it’s okay to steal someone else’s fiancé if you loved them first (but never bothered to stick up for yourself about it when you had the chance…).
I guess the heart of it for me is that I don’t believe that it is okay to really intentionally hurt someone just because you will get what you want. For me the lines aren’t blurry. It seems really, really black and white. I can’t wrap my head around a scenario in which I would be able to justify behaving like Rachel (or Dex). According to the movie poster, there is a “thin line between love and friendship.” I hope none of my friends feel that way because I certainly don’t.
Have you seen the movie or read the book? What do you think?
* Click on images for sources.