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‘Spinster’ review: How to have a rom-com with no romance

Where is the love?

Spinster is a romantic comedy that does things a little bit differently. The movie follows Gaby (Chelsea Peretti) , a woman who has just turned 39. Everyone around her seems to think it is far past time for her to find someone and possibly have kids. Gaby is of a different mindset. Can anyone make her think differently?

The set up is standard for the genre. A person is getting older and begins to notice everyone in their inner circle seems to have found their special someone. They are hardened by life and seemingly incapable of being in any sort of relationship. They end up meeting that person that understands them and everyone lives happily ever after.

Spinster turns the rom-com genre on its head. The title alone clues the audience in that this will not be just another girl falls in love with boy story. Gaby has not only accepted the spinster title, she seems to relish in it. She wants to live her life to its fullest, but she does not think that necessarily means finding someone to spend it with.

It sounds like it would be a cynical story. Thankfully, Spinster is not. While it visits the concept of having to find a partner once you have reached a certain age, it does so with humor. The movie does not wallow in despair and is very funny. 

'Spinster' review: How to have a rom-com with no romance

This may surprise some as Peretti’s dry humor may not seem to work in a rom-com. The former Brooklyn Nine-Nine star pulls it off perfectly. The reason it works so well is Gaby does not come off as someone who is jaded by life in love. Peretti plays her as someone who has lived her life and knows what she wants. There is no immediate need to conform to anyone’s standards.

While Gaby is the focus of the story, the cast of Spinster is well rounded. There is a common thread among everyone in the movie. No matter what their relationship status, many of the people are trying to accept themselves. There is a scene in which Gaby’s brother invites their father to his stand up comedy act. It is a great example of someone attempting to find a place in life.

Romantic comedies follow a tried and true formula audiences love. They build a certain expectation that makes them so popular. Spinster loosely follows this framework to tell a wonderful story. There is the same self discovery aspect, but it is done in a way that is more realistic and relatable.

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