What To Watch: ‘Sleeping With Other People’

Words by Jessica Rovniak.

For June/July’s theme of Safety Net watch: Sleeping With Other People.

The phrase “safety net” can mean many things; it can mean a love that’s protected or it can be settling down with a person you promised at 15-years old that you’d marry if still single at 40.

While exploring June/July’s theme, I kept coming back to the idea of friends becoming more than friends. As scary as the process can be, there’s a sense of safety that comes with being with someone you know so well, and who knows you so well.

A modern When Harry Met Sally, Sleeping With Other People follows the relationship of Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis), who try to prove that men and women can be just friends.

Lainey and Jake reconnect in their ’30s at a sex addiction meeting, after having lost their virginity to one another in college. For sex-addict-related reasons, they decide to just be friends–albeit very sexually charged friends, but sexless friends nonetheless.

Hyper-intensive honesty creates an open relationship that becomes a safe place for both. Jake helps Lainey cope with visceral post-traumatic stress rooted from her former relationship. Lainey helps Jake grow into his first, genuine romantic relationship. While they acknowledge they’re in love with one another, they don’t pursue it. In fact, they decide to move on with other people or to other places. Unlike most of these types of “more than friends” movies, both protagonists really do seem to move on–they even lose touch. But when Jake sees Lainey’s ex-boyfriend at brunch (while with his current girlfriend), they get into a tussle. It becomes clear to his current girlfriend, and to him, that Lainey is the one.

Friendship has the potential to be solid foundation on which to build romance upon. There’s a sense of safety knowing a friend chooses you every day, unlike sometimes a lover. Except, as in Sleeping With Other People, it has the potential to get complicated when your friend turns into a lover. The friendship between Jake and Lainey is a safe space. And, isn’t that what a safety net should be: a place to feel secure in?

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