Review: Newness

Newness is a 2017 dramatic love story written and directed by Drake Doremus and stars Nicholas Hoult, Leia Costa and Danny Huston. At its heart, this film is a unique 21st-century love story about online dating, exploring a relationship between two people addicted to an app similar to Tinder. While this film most certainly had a point to make, the story never felt preachy and instead, offered a very unique take on modern love. Maybe as a 21-year-old college kid, the story hit a little close to home and was quite hard to watch at times, but writer/director Drake Doremus is great at delivering heartwarming and heartbreaking love stories, and this film is most certainly both of those in the best of ways.

As mentioned, this movie is extremely timely not only in the sense of a millennial love story but one that revolves around the app-connected and internet-based generations. Nicholas Hoult and Leia Costa play two people who match together on an app, and throughout the film, we see how their relationship evolves due to their perceptions of how a relationship should be. The story has a lot of commentary on how the app-dating lifestyle can change (for better or worse) one’s expectations of love; people who are used to getting things immediately, not having to compromise, and having something new every moment just with the press of their finger live in a much different world than their parents, and this film is a much different love story than we have gotten before because of it. As mentioned, this film most certainly has a point to get across, but it’s never preachy or pushy about it. Doremus shows both sides of the debate, what works and doesn’t work for people who love monogamy (closed) or polygamy (open relationships), and finally, states his claim.

The relationship wouldn’t have worked at all if Hoult and Costa didn’t have beautiful chemistry together, and it’s because they do that the film is so emotionally powerful. Through all of the highs and lows in their relationship, I was with them every step of the way because I genuinely wanted to see them end up happy and together. Of course, every love film throws obstacles their way, but it’s because of those obstacles that we have a movie in the first place, and those obstacles are very relevant to the current generations and world that we live in. The story is honest and intimate and just the aesthetic alone, which you can see in Like Crazy or Breathe In as well, made Newness pleasant to watch. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as the story is quite heartbreaking at times

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as the story is quite heartbreaking at times when our protagonists don’t get alone. There are rough spots in their relationship indeed, and some are those are a commentary on the mindset people have walking into relationships nowadays. There was a quite large plot point that I didn’t buy at all, but I won’t spoil it as it’s monumental to the story, and should not be known going into the film. There were other aspects of this film that I didn’t love such as how slow and sloppy the beginning felt before our characters meet; I was not into it at all, and I felt as though the story was extremely rushed at the same time as being uninteresting until 15-20 minutes in. Furthermore, although I loved the actors, I felt as though their “fight” scenes together, in which they’d argue, didn’t feel authentic. I appreciate the style of filmmaking that was used (single-take, no cut, hand-held camera) which placed the audience right in the middle of the scene, but I just didn’t buy it during those scenes.

Overall, Newness is an extremely timely love story about two people with twisted expectations of romance due to the app-hookup lifestyle of the 21st century. The story often feels raw with emotion and shows us a relationship that I very much wanted to succeed because of the characters, and the cast that brought those characters to life. The film is not perfect as the beginning is rocky, the arguments made me feel like I was watching a movie, and there are aspects of the story that I didn’t believe but the story as a whole was very moving and I would definitely recommend that people watch it to experience and maybe learn from it as well. I’m going to give Newness a 7+/10 and a green recommendation! At the theater I saw this in, I sat next to a director of the Sydney Film Festival, and he thought it was a little long; I don’t know, maybe the story isn’t as timely for other generations outside of mine, but I really enjoyed it. Have you seen this film or do you want to see it? Let me know! As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!

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