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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.


Anyone But You on IMDb

Plot Overview

College News

boy and girlA man goes to college to get a degree, a woman to get a husband. Bea (Sydney Sweeney,) in her twenties, withdraws from BU Law School after finding it too hard. Finding her­self a husband was all too easy. Eligible Ben (Glen Powell,) 29 (“Nobody's twenty-nine,”) pretended to be hers in a local bistro to justify sharing w/her his place in line and with it the key to the rest room, which she desperately needed. But it was one step forward and two steps back.

loversWelcomeplanning a matchpenguin on skisBen & Bea frequent a busy Boston bar but ignore each other there. When Ben's pal Halle (Hadley Robinson) who's Bea's younger sister is having a gay wedding at the girls' parents' home in Adelaide, every­one they know is invited to come stay with them. These heli­copter folks have surrep­titiously invited Bea's ex: Jonathan (Darren Barnet) hoping they get back together. When that looks unlikely, they change plans and try, with others, to make a match between Bea and Ben. It's in Bea's best interests to pretend it's working in order to get them off her back, and Ben will go along with it to make his ex: Margaret (Charlee Fraser) jealous enough to lose the Aussie surfer she's been flirting with. As expected this pretend love is on a most slippery slope, and it's not with­out its pit­falls along the way.


It helps to set this plot within a panoramic historical framework. Jesus defined marriage as God having made it hetero­sexual in the beginning, (Matt. 19:4-5) “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” Marriage was the first human institution God made, before there was any America or Australia, before there was any civil authority or state of any kind.

officerBy and by we get to a definition of marriage, from Dr. Ide: “The Con­tem­por­ary Christian stan­dard was defined not by the bible but gen­er­ated by Roman law as defined by the jurist Modes­tinus who argued that marriage was ‘consortium omnis vitae, divini et humani iuris communi­catio: a life-long part­ner­ship, and a sharing of civil and religious rights’” (83–5). The religious rights occur in the context of what Catholics and Orthodox call a domestic church, the civil rights within the domestic partner­ship of the civil union. The latter conveys benefits like access to the rest room key as legally argued by Bea with her “husband” in the coffee shop. The domestic church sanctifies sex within its dynamic, to wit (1Cor. 7:2) “to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Bea and Ben bedded together the same day they met, which wasn't against any civil statute but would violate Christian morals. America's equality does not conflate the church with the state; we have separation.

Martin Luther (1483–1546) the German church reformer introduced the concept of “companionate marriage” that was observable even in a Catholic church. It has caught on in cultures world­wide; that's how we generally regard it every­where. It has allowed the political issue of redefining marriage to be couched in terms of it not mattering whom we love, although in the case of homos, the Bible calls their love “vile affections.”

Then we come to trend-setting America. According to cultural historian David Hackett Fischer, the Puritans had “a cultural idea of marriage that was unique to the Puritan colonies. … The Puritans of New England rejected all the Anglican ideas. They believed that marriage was not a religious but a civil contract” (77). In the New England states—& NY & DC—the civil contract was the whole kit and caboodle, so once laws against sodomy were abolished it was a simple matter of equal rights to open (civil) marriage to homo­sexuals. The rest of the states did not abide such a redefinition, but the courts stepped in to force acceptance of same-sex marriage. What is now called marriage for homos used to be domestic partner­ship, but that's all it is now anyway.

Bea's and Halle's parents announce from down under, Halle and Claudia (Alexandra Shipp)'s upcoming nuptials as an impending “holy matrimony.” The word matrimony comes from Latin roots mater meaning mother, and monium meaning state of; matrimony being the state in which it is permitted (in Catholicism, say) for a woman to enter mother­hood. Since a lesbian couple cannot produce a baby them­selves, strictly speaking the word cannot apply to them; its use here was a malapropism. Once the guests started arriving from Boston and its environs, the Puritan culture exerted its influence and we hear no more mention of “matrimony.”

The gathering together of the clan catching up on their foibles could provide an anthropologist rich grist for the mill. Consulting scientist Marvin Harris on What is Marriage? we read:

One of the problems with the proposition that the nuclear family is the basic building block of all domestic groups is that it rests on the assumption that widely different forms of matings can be called “marriage.” Yet in order to cover the extra­ordinary diversity of mating behavior characteristic of the human species, the definition of marriage has to be made so broad as to be confusing. —

Since the term marriage is too useful to drop altogether, a more narrow definition seems appropriate: Marriage denotes the behavior, sentiments, and rules concerned with coresident hetero­sexual mating and reproduction in domestic contexts.

To avoid offending people by using marriage exclusively for coresident hetero­sexual domestic mates, a simple expedient is available. Let such other relation­ships be designated as “noncoresident marriages”, “man-man marriages”, “woman-woman marriages,” or by any other appropriate specific nomen­clature. It is clear that these matings have different ecological, demographic, economic, and ideological implications, so nothing is to be gained by arguing about whether they are “real” marriages. (317–18)

In ABY the parents Leo (Dermot Mulroney) and Innie (Rachel Griffiths) are a “coresident hetero­sexual domestic mating.” Their dynamic included producing a fine, well-balanced daughter for which they were complimented.

Ben and Bea from the bistro were a “noncoresident heterosexual opportunistic mating.” It was wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. It's reminiscent of an art gallery in a Paul Auster novel:

After a period of deep reflection, he decided to call his gallery Dunkel Frères. Harry had no brothers, but he felt the name leant a certain Old World quality to the enterprise, hinting at a long family tradition in the business of buying and selling art. As he saw it, the marriage between the German proper noun and the French modifier would create an arresting, altogether agree­able confusion in the minds of his customers. (40)

The word marriage can embrace the “blending of languages” (ibid.) In the coffee shop it would cover the blending of ingredients. It's a flexible word that need not reference religion.

Ben and Bea discussed their togetherness ruse, that they were not “together together”; they were “situationally together.” It was Halle and Claudia who were together together in their Lesbo love. Ben and Bea were following the ancient dynamic of arranged marriages: a first meeting where they could initially accept one another, followed by a long togetherness in which they grew on each other and eventually found love. This was not the same dynamic as love marriages, hetero or homo. It was, how­ever, similar to a dynamic in Auster:

“But Honey, I'm not in love with you. I hardly even know you.”

“You will.”

“Will what?”

“First, you'll get to know me. And then you'll start to love me.”

“Just like that.”

“Yes. Just like that.” She paused for a moment and smiled— (239)

By the middle of October … Tom and Honey were married (241)
Honey announced that she was pregnant. Tom put his arm around her, then leaned across the table and asked me if I would be the god­father. “You're our only choice,” he said, “for … prodding your wounded comrade to stand on his feet and enter into this conjugal union.” (282–3)

Halle and Claudia had a different dynamic as in Auster:

“No, you don't understand. I mean, I really love her. And she loves me back.”

“Of course she does. Nancy is one of the most affectionate people I've ever known.”

“You still don't get it. What I'm trying to say is that we're in love. Nancy and I are lovers.” (291–2)

ur pupperBen and Bea's dynamic followed her serenity song that kept popping up throughout the movie. The serenity of the group had first place in their arrangement. For Halle and Claudia it was individual love. What they lacked in convention, tradition, religion, and kinship ties, they made up for in pageantry. The epitome of their wedding was the huge wedding cake — that got whacked by a small dog. The dog also bore the ring that denoted by Roman custom a connection from finger to heart. The orchestra ensemble was three fiddles and a base fiddle, homo­geneous instruments. They did get a sunny day for their out­side ceremony, God making his sun to shine on the evil and on the good. God bless 'em.

Production Values

” (2023) was directed by Will Gluck. Writers Ilana Wolpert and Will Gluck incorporated themes from Shakes­peare's classic, “Much Ado About Nothing.” It starred Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell. The acting left me unimpressed. Shakes­peare would be rolling over in his grave.

old men playing
chessquartetMPAA rated it R for language through­out, sexual content and brief graphic nudity. Profanities include ripper cunt (an Aussie slang compliment), a couple bitch-words (applied to a deserving gent), two g.d.'s, four sh!t's, and innumerable f-words. The physical humor was cartoonish. The chess game was sped up to accommodate a motion picture. The spider scene was enter­taining. One audience member remarked, “That was the only funny part of the whole show.”

The script was in serious need of a rewrite. Where is Shakespeare when you need him? The music sound­track was decent but some of the effects were out of sync. The scenery was gorgeous while it could have stood more exposure. The cinema­tog­raphy was polished. The wardrobes were creative. The editing was haphazard but there wasn't any­thing missing. There were too many writers for coherence. Runtime is 1¾ hours.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

dream catchersage plantChristian references were avoided to spare the main event that's in disfavor with the faithful. Instead, they seemed to be New Agers, burning sage for cleansing. Unfortunately for them, same-sex marriage is substandard in many other religions as well. When one of the brides included in her love vows, “You're the Yin to my Yang,” the many hetero couples or pairings in view spoke of a Yin–Yang that the two lesbians couldn't touch.

This one didn't ring my bell. Maybe I'm just the wrong audience because it seemed a decent enough film if it matched the viewer's tastes.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: For select audiences. Suspense: Predictable. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print. Software.

Auster, Paul. The Brooklyn Follies. Copyright © 2006 by Paul Auster. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2006. Print.

Fischer, David Hackett. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York: Oxford UP, 1989. Print, Web.

Harris, Marvin. CULTURE, PEOPLE, NATURE: An Introduction to General Anthropology fifth edition. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1988. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.