Use BFF correctly or else!
In 1997, Julia Roberts played the lead in My Best Friend’s Wedding. It is a romantic comedy about her character coming to grips with sharing her best friend with the woman he romantically loves. As with all relationships, it is more complex than that, but you can look it up if you want to know the entire plot.
There are two things I love about this movie. Check that. There are three things I love about this movie. Every time I write that sentence, I think of ANOTHER thing I love about this movie! Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett, Cameron Diaz. There are four things I love right there! This was romantic comedy at its best. And, the best part about it is that in the end, it wasn’t about the romance at all. It was about the friendships. Jules didn’t really want her best friend to marry her. She just didn’t want him to marry someone else. It isn’t pretty. In fact, her character is pretty despicable. I can totally relate to her.
Another thing I love is the chase scene near the end. It is one of the best chase scenes in a movie — at least one of the best funny chase scenes. I’m sure James Bond or Jason Bourne would win the overall title!
Jules, played by Julia Roberts — that must have been hard to remember! — chases her best friend, Michael, played by Dermot Mulroy, who is chasing his fiancé, Kimmy, played by Cameron Diaz. Jules is talking on the phone to another friend, George, played by Rupert Everett. As she tells him “Michael is chasing Kimmy. I am chasing Michael.” He simply asks, “Who is chasing you?”
Come on! That is good writing. (Screenplay by Ronald Bass, directed by P.J. Hogan.) I haven’t watched this movie in a long time. I always imagine watching a movie I haven’t seen in a while will end with me seeing all the ways it is problematic in our current culture, problematic in ways that were not talked about in 1997. I know many of us see the problems with the whole premise of a woman trying to sabotage her best friend’s wedding. That is why the ending was so refreshing. At a time when romantic comedies almost always ended with the protagonist getting her man (who whoever they were after), this one ends with Jules learning a valuable lesson about being a good friend, letting go, and presumably Michael and Kimmy living happily ever after.
My Best Friend in my twenties was a man. We were earning our master’s degrees together. When a girl he had dated for a while broke up with him, he called me. I met him at the church at which I was working at the time and listened to him cry and grieve the relationship. When he met a new girl and thought he may be in love, he came and sat on my porch and told me all about the night they met listening to music in a bar. When he decided to ask her to marry him, he took me out to eat — “I need to talk to you about something important.”
Best Friend means something to me that may be a little over the top. This is the story of the time my insistence on what it means cost me a relationship. At least I think it did.
Best Friend did ask this woman to marry him. And, I couldn’t imagine that we would remain friends. Yes, I had been married the whole time, but if Hubby was the sharing type, he would tell you that the friendship did interfere with our marriage even though it was always and only platonic. So, I was well aware that things would change. I also had my concerns. That isn’t my story to tell, but I did decide to be absolutely honest with him and share my concerns with him before he got married.
This was the beginning of the end.
We went to a park, sat on a bench, and I told him that I love him and want what is best for him. I told him I knew this would be hard to hear, but that it would be wrong if I wasn’t honest with him. He is the kind of person that truly appreciated my honesty. He did not get angry. He calmly listened, saying he understood my concerns.
I read scripture at their wedding. They are still married.
At some point later, he and I were talking. We had graduated and each moved elsewhere. We saw each other when we could. If I ever met anyone he knew, he introduced me as his “best friend,” but more and more it was feeling like this could not possibly be true.
You see? I demand a lot. He has a lot of friends. Some of them are best friends. But, I’m a stickler for grammar. Only ONE CAN BE THE BEST.
So, at some point years ago, we were having a conversation. It was a serious conversation about the highs and lows of our friendship. I don’t remember much, but I do remember this. At one point he said,
“You are my best friend.”
To this I replied,
“But, am I? That is how you introduce me to people, but I don’t really know what is going on in your life anymore. I mean I would rather you not call me that if it isn’t going to be true.”
I guess I thought I would make him regret his actions and beg my forgiveness and be sure that I was at the top of his priority list from that moment until the end of time. Instead, he quietly said,
And, he never called me “best friend” again. I showed him!
That was the end.
I know that he considers us still friends. I know what the basic events of his life are. He knows the basic events of mine. But, we don’t REALLY KNOW each other anymore. We have built families and lost parents and changed jobs and so much more.
We had sort of a reunion a couple of years ago with another friend. We all went to a concert together. It was a great night. We caught up. We laughed. We cried. We shared those deep things that had happened since we had been together last. Then, I got in my car and drove home knowing that would probably be the last time something like that happened.
I know it sounds sad. And, I do have sadness around it. But, for the most part, I just see it as the way of life. He has a best friend. He always had a best friend. It was never really me. And, that is just as it should be.
At the end of the movie, George surprises Jules by showing up at the wedding reception. George is gay, so we know this is not going to be romantic. It is just lovely, a friend showing up for another friend. He says,
“Maybe there won’t be marriage, maybe there won’t be sex, but by God there’ll be dancing!”