Spinster is a term that thankfully isn’t used too much these days, but it’s an insult to women of a certain age (read: over 30, basically) who are single, live alone, and don’t have children. Spinster is about a woman named Gaby (Chelsea Peretti) who is dumped by her live-in boyfriend Nathan (Eugene Sampang) on her 39th birthday. She feels sorry for herself and is worried that she will become a spinster, but simultaneously doesn’t want to get married and follow the traditional path of most people in their late 30s-early 40s.
Gaby runs her own catering company and has a dream to start her own restaurant. For a while, she puts these dreams on the backburner in an attempt to find “Mr. Right” via her friend’s softball team, and the dreaded online dating scene. Eventually, however, thanks to her relationship with her niece, Adele (Nadia Tonen), and reconnecting with her best friend, Amanda (Susan Kent), she realizes she doesn’t need a relationship to define her.
Chelsea Peretti is naturally hilarious in the role of Gaby but in a subtle sarcastic way. I would say this is probably the most serious role she’s played, not saying its all that serious. However, it’s not as big and wacky as some of her beloved performances are, such as her turn in the role of Gina Linetti in Brooklyn 99. Spinster is a semi-departure for Peretti, showing she may actually star in a drama someday and be good at it.
“…doesn’t want to get married and follow the traditional path of most people in their late 30s-early 40s.”
The film itself is beautifully shot by Stephanie Anne Weber Biron. The story by director Andrea Dorfman and writer Jennifer Deyell feels real. It doesn’t sugar-coat or live in a delusional fantasy world. It shows us Gaby’s journey of self-acceptance over the course of a year. Her changes are as subtle as the ones we make in our own lives. It’s part of what I enjoy most about the film. There is no sweeping grand gesture of romance out of nowhere, in the end, instead, there’s a restaurant opening. Gaby’s relationship with her brother and father improves. She redecorates her apartment that was left bare upon Nathan’s departure. She slowly builds a life that belongs to her, and no one else, which is something that everyone wants.
Another thing that is important about this movie is that the main relationships are friendships with other women, and relationships with family. Spinster shows us that you can have a comedy starring a woman that isn’t about romance, thank God. Of course, there are other movies that fit these criteria, but they are very, very few, and far between. It’s refreshing that a big name like Peretti stars in a personal microcosm of a film such as this one. That being said, if you’re looking for violins playing over passionate embraces, this is not the film for you. Frankly, there are more than enough of those to ground. There should be more movies like Spinster out there to show that women can be three-dimensional humans in comedies and not just damsels in distress or plot points for a leading man. So I implore you to check out Andrea Dorfman’s latest, so you can see a different kind of comedy film.
"…...for a while, she puts these dreams on the backburner in an attempt to find 'Mr. Right'..."