At the start of Spinster, the lead character Gabby (Chelsea Peretti) is much like the start of the film itself: she doesn’t have a lot going for herself, fails to understand some elements of social interaction and generally struggles a bit with holding on to your attention. She’s not really the kind of person you want to spend time with; her friends don’t invite her to things and her boyfriend leaves her on her birthday, which she isn’t even all that upset about. And though the film betters itself alongside its protagonist as it progresses, it definitely starts out on an uphill battle.
Spinster sees Gabby in a battle of acceptance with herself. She insists to those around her that she is fine with how her life is — and though she may believe it herself — convincing the audience, alongside those around her, is another matter. When her boyfriend leaves her (and leaves an apartment to her, really not a bad outcome of a breakup), it acts as a wake-up call to her own future and the role she has to play in it. Whether you like it or not, if you want to do something with your life, you have to actually… do it.
Though Gabby’s initial focus is on dating and finding a new ‘perfect’ match, she eventually realises she can work on making a future that she can enjoy for herself, which doesn’t revolve around cheating boyfriends or snotty children, and the film takes a turn for the better once it starts to focus on happiness as something you make for yourself. Though Peretti performs well in her first leading feature role, Gabby’s guarded personality makes her more difficult to pity — we don’t feel the emotional impact of the struggle of dating because she doesn’t really ever show it.
Spinster also struggles with a script that relies too heavily on phrases you’ve heard before but that no one ever actually says and leaning too far into clichés for a film which sets itself up to reverse rom-com tropes. It’s the technical aspects which sell Spinster short, but luckily the story is enough to hold it up. Gabby thrives in the joy of independence, as well as the joy a dog can bring to your life— Trudy truly is a highlight of the film. In fact, all of the women are. Writer Jennifer Deyell creates a multitude of different types of women and shows that no one way of living is better than the other, as long as you are living for yourself.
With women at the heart of the cast and the crew, it’s no wonder that Spinster’s story is its strongest asset. There is no doubt in the ability of this team, especially Peretti’s potential as a future leading-role actor. While some aspects fall flat, Spinster is a diamond in the rough that teaches you the value of putting yourself first, no matter your age.
Spinster is available on Digital now
by Georgia Carroll
Georgia (she/her) is a Broadcast Journalist from Manchester. Her love for films stems from a passion for reading as a child and extends to a love for music through soundtracks, and her Manc roots. She’s a sucker for anything 80s or Sci-Fi, but won’t watch a horror movie if you pay her. Favourite films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Coco, Back to the Future. Twitter: @georgiacarroll_ Letterboxd: @georgia_ Instagram: @georgia.carroll