Before she was a celebrated producer and TV star, Reese Witherspoon proudly reigned as the queen of rom-coms — Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, and many more come to mind. Now, the actress is going back to her roots with two Netflix movies lined up for the coming year in which she’ll be starring as the romantic lead of these very grown-up rom-coms. While comedies about first loves and navigating the dating world may be Witherspoon’s background, these two new projects explore a different phase, following 40-something women juggling motherhood, work, and love. Witherspoon has been a passionate defender of the need to tell the fascinating untold stories of women over the age of 35, so often put on the back burner in Hollywood. We’re just grateful she decided to take a stab at a few of these roles herself.
Don’t get us wrong — we’ve loved seeing Witherspoon kill it in shows like Little Fires Everywhere, The Morning Show, and Big Little Lies over the past few years. But nothing has quite scratched our itch for a good-old fashioned rom-com, a genre to which Reese Witherspoon is key. The news of her new Netflix projects, first reported by Deadline, paints a picture of two roles just as juicy and complicated and her recent TV characters, and Witherspoon will no doubt bring just as much fire to these parts.
The first project she’s working on is called Your Place Or Mine, written and directed by Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. Per Deadline, the movie is about “two long-distance best friends who change each other’s lives when she decides to pursue a lifelong dream and he volunteers to keep an eye on her teenage son.” Her second project, an adaptation of hit novel The Cactus, tells the story of a 45-year-old woman who finds out she’s pregnant shortly after losing her mother, and fights to keep her carefully organized life on track.
Of course, both stories will build toward romantic interests (they don’t call it a rom-com for nothing!). But the key point here is that these women have rich, full, complicated lives well before a love interest enters the picture, unlike previous rom-com heroines whose lives depend (at least at first) on a boy’s attention. These are grown rom-coms for grown women, and we can’t think of anyone better to play the part.
Before you go, check out all the best shows on Netflix you should be watching right now.