Gaby is a recently dumped 39-year old woman on the brink. Running a catering business that puts her face to face with happy brides definitely doesn’t help her peace of mind. Forced to confront loneliness head on, she goes on a journey that surprises her friends, her family, and, most importantly, herself.
Gaby is everything a woman is taught not to be. When her boyfriend dumps her (unexpectedly, and, bonus points, on her birthday) she chases him around their apartment begging him to reconsider. She lays all her emotional cards on the table, is willing to compromise, and, worse, settle, if only he’ll stay. In the final bargaining chip, she offers to go to counseling, to which he hilariously replies, “People don’t go to counseling for relationships that only lasted three months. We don’t have kids; we’re not married. You’re free!” Wait… did he say three months? Yep! That’s how desperate Gaby is not to be alone. Girl, that ain’t sexy!
Things get nuttier when Gaby’s boyfriend is so determined to get away from her that he moves out of his own home. (In some fair trade here, he agreed to let her move in that soon. Take some responsibility for your own damn choices, my man.) The even funnier part is that she stays, taking root in his former abode and making it her own.
Thus, begins the journey of Spinster, a lovely comedy in which Chelsea Peretti (in the lead role as Gaby) shines. In the hands of a lesser actress, Gaby could’ve come across as shrill and whiny, but Peretti deftly gives Gaby layers that will have you laughing with her and rooting for her, even as she walks an uneven and thorny path of personal growth. Ironically, it’s not even a path she initiated. Rather it’s the pushback to the question everyone feels free to ask her, “But when are you going to get married, and what are you going to do about having kids?!” Umm… that’s your business how? (As a gal whose mom once hired a priest to come talk to me about being single and childless on Christmas Eve one year in my twenties, I can relate. Did I mention we’re not even Catholic? Yes, it was as weird and wildly uncomfortable as it sounds!)
The film notably sports strong women both onscreen and off – the director, Andrea Dorfman (Big Mouth), and screenwriter Jennifer Deyell (Love That Boy) are both accomplished females who bring this story vibrantly to the screen. You might not be surprised to learn that the script is borne from real life experiences – the plot was conceived 15 years ago when they began to notice the uptick in acquaintances rushing to get married, matched with judgement at Andrea and Jennifer’s choices, even as their careers were thriving. Needless to say, both of them wanted to give serious pause and address the phenomenon.
Women are rarely allowed to remain questions unanswered. Society is most comfortable when we’re categorized and defined, preferably in as narrow a box as possible. Spinster is the answer to the call and response of the patriarchy that unabashedly says, “It’s okay to be me, exactly as I am.” In fact, it’s perfect.
Spinster is being released at the right time – it might not be the rom com you think you want, but it’s the rom com you need. In an environment rich with hate, this is a bright spot that highlights love. While you probably won't get to view it at your favorite theater, it will bring a much-needed smile your way. A sweet must-see VOD streaming experience.