Movie Review: “Going the Distance”

by Emilie Branch


Let me preface this review by saying I really liked this movie. “Going the Distance” is about a couple dealing with a long distance relationship in an economically unstable period. They meet in New York City and have what Erin (Drew Barrymore) assumes is just a one night stand, but Garrett (Justin Long) extends their tryst to breakfast. Garrett confesses that he just got out of a relationship, which relaxes Erin because she wants to keep things between them light. She’s working as a summer intern at a newspaper and has to go back to San Francisco in six weeks.

We’re first introduced to Garrett as his girlfriend (Leighton Meester) breaks up with him. He doesn’t get her a present on her birthday, leading the audience to believe he isn’t there for her in the relationship (“It’s not about the present!”) He goes to a bar with friends, where they relate his pattern of fear of commitment to him. Garrett meets Erin on this night.

Though they both have Erin’s departure looming over them, they continue seeing each other and eventually decide to stay together. “Going the Distance” is a by-product of the recessed economy. Erin is thirty-one and enrolled in grad school. She lives with her sister’s family and waits tables to make money. She is unable to move to NY because there “are no jobs”, and Garrett is equally unsuccessful at finding work in SF. Their love stale mate is a result of the hiring freeze; they’re both in economic straits. Garrett is doing better than Erin financially, but he is unhappy with the commercial direction his job at a record label, has taken.

The two also illustrate the postponed adolescence that an article (“What Is It About 20-Somethings?“) in The New York Times Magazine reflected on several weeks ago. The gist of the piece was that young people are waiting longer to settle down, preferring to move in with roommates than get married; and also traveling or getting involved in higher education rather than committing to a job. “Going the Distance” seems to act this out.

The way the relationship plays out and how it’s dictated by the socio-economic situation, made it both refreshing and believable. It was a welcome relief to see people on screen struggling and apart for very time relevant reasons. “Going the Distance” seems to be the 2010 answer to “Sex and the City”—played down and kept in check instead of lavish and limitless.

As a romantic comedy, “Going the D” (as it’s referred to in front of the theatre) hits all the key points. There’s the witty female lead, the strong supporting characters, recurring jokes, and best of all…chemistry. Justin Long and Drew Barrymore are dating, making it even more interesting to see how they react to one another on screen. If anything, this movie is worth seeing for Drew Barrymore’s laugh and pronunciation of “San Fran-siss-KOH”—I can’t remember the last movie I saw her in, and I really think she shines here. Most importantly, I left with my heart warmed; all you can ask for when you spend $13 to be entertained on a rainy day. 

Image Credit: Going the Distance Movie Poster


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