Suddenly 30

30, Flirty & Thriving? I Fact-Checked ‘Suddenly 30’ As An Actual 30-Year-Old

I was almost 16 when Suddenly 30 was released in September of 2004. That’s a little older than the film’s main character, Jenna, was before she did that whole time jump thing into Jennifer Garner’s body, but nonetheless, I was equally keen to get out of my stiflingly small hometown and into the proverbial pink silk nightie that is adulthood.

And, since I turned the big 3-0 in November, I reckon I’m pretty well placed to make a call about what this iconic and clearly factual film gets right (and wrong) about being 30.



Fact: Slip Dresses Are ‘A Little ‘97’

But they’re comfortable and feel like pyjamas, so we 30-year-olds own them in abundance.


Fact: Love *Is* A Battlefield

“It’s complicated” is basically Adult Jenna’s default setting and, honestly, same. When you’ve been in the dating game for a decade or more, good ones get away (goodbye, Matty), old flames pop up (hello, Chris Gandy), and fuckboys are everywhere.

And, yes, sometimes there are naked men in your bathroom asking where the conditioner is. Stay safe out there.


Fact: Rent Will Ruin Your Life

When we first meet 30-year-old Jenna, she’s living in an apartment with at least one bedroom and perfect mid-century styling on 5th Avenue in New York City.

While I’d like to tell you that, with enough hard work and determination, you too can have an apartment on of the most famous streets in the best city in the world, it’s best you hear this now: When you’re 30 and paying rent, a place that only has one or two cockroaches is considered good value. You’ll probably give them names.


Fact: Faking It Is Absolutely Part Of Making It

When Jenna first arrives at the offices of Poise magazine and discovers she’s a big-time editor (and, frankly, a bit of a dick), she’s required to fake her way through a big, scary meeting. Naturally, she takes the first opportunity to escape and hyperventilate in her office. Swap the office for the office bathroom and you’ve pretty much got it nailed.

Kidding! But it should be said that, by the time you get to 30, you realise that everyone – even your most confident, kick-ass colleagues – are just trying to figure this whole thing out, too. Back yourself, fake it if you have to. You got this.


Fact: Boobs Do Fill Out Your Dresses

But, when you’re 30, you also finally understand what your parents meant about “lower back pain”.


Fact: You Probably Won’t Stay BFFs With People From High School

After tracking him down in New York City, grown-up Jenna’s devasted to find she and grown-up Matty (played by ‘90s dreamboat Mark Ruffalo) fell out of touch after high school. At 30, I can relate, given I’m only in regular contact with a handful of the people I went to high school with.

On one hand, it’s sad. These are the people you spent some of the formative years of your life with! But, the older you get, the busier life gets, meaning it can be easy to let those relationships go by the wayside.

On the other, it can be a good thing, because people who can dish that level of dirt on your teenage antics should be kept at arm’s length at least.


Fact: Nobody Remembers The ‘Thriller’ Dance Moves

We try, but we’re drunk.


Fact: You Do Figure Out Who You Are

On one of her late-night walks with Matty, Jenna reckons with who she’s become since she played that fateful game of Seven Minutes in Heaven. “I don’t have any real friends, I did something bad with a married guy, I don’t talk to my mum and dad. I’m not a nice person.”

While, thankfully, it doesn’t go so far south for most of us, heaps of 30-year-olds will tell you that you really start to understand who you are when you leave your teens and 20s behind. You do the growing you need to do and even start cutting yourself some slack, which is awesome when you cave and get a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream delivered to your house via Uber Eats (twice).


Fact: Mark Ruffalo Almost Definitely Won’t Fall In Love With You

Though I’m absolutely available if he’s interested.

(Lead image: Revolution Studios)