If it’s one thing online dating has taught us, it’s to never give up. I was contemplating what to watch on Netflix last Sunday, while at home, and a dozen things showed up on my screen. I remember hearing someone talk about this ‘epic’ movie on modern day relationships on Netflix and I couldn’t find a better time to watch it. I cued the movie on and now I am sitting and penning down what I gathered from the movie that showed the ‘dullness’ of emotion, in too little a time.
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‘Newness’, a complete juxtaposition of the dating lives of a millennial couple, had me really intrigued. I started thinking about the solemn transition of old school dating to what it has become now and this movie made so much sense with that tangent in place. I am a sucker for old school romance where you stand your ground firm and fight anything plaguing the relationship but with the advent of a completely new dating age, situations are targeted for risks at the brink of a ‘right swipe’. Although this movie tried to hold the essence of old school dating really hard, it also gave a rather submissive peak into what dating has now become, in the present.
Although this movie is a constant reminder about not working too hard on relationships and the next love of your life could be a Tinder match away, it also throws an outline about ‘what happens when you actually find love on a dating app’?
Martin (Nicholas Hault) and Gabi (Laia Costa) are living a typical ‘dull’ millennial existence. Dull because they define their daily dose of excitement through probable Tinder matches. They both are addicted to Tinder and finding the right person to sleep with is on their agenda. Things don’t always go as one expects them to and hence they keep meeting the wrong people all the time. Case in point: Martin shrugs off his colleagues to hook up with a Tinder Swipe. The evening doesn’t go as planned and he finds out that the girl is down one too many Klonopin pills and she throws up. Gabi, on the other hand has her status on the dating app set as ‘DTF’ ( I am gonna let you Google that one on your own) and she’s very clear as to what she wants. She matches with an Instagram model, who is mighty selfish in bed. After going through rancid experiences in their respective dating lives, they finally swipe on each other and that’s when it begins!
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What’s expected to be a night of just sex turns out to be an all-nighter date. They spend the night talking and getting to know each other and eventually have sex that is both intense and satisfying. Gabi stays the night and the next day, while they spend it strolling about art museums and one montage later, they’re a couple who have marathon bouts of physical intimacy! Before you know it, they’re facing their first triumph as a couple: deleting their dating apps, together!
Martin is extremely handsome and kind but terse while Gabi is free-spirited and an open book. Of course, complications arise due to their personality differences and after a huge fight one night, they term themselves as ‘incompatible’ and sleep with other people, simultaneously. After they come clean to each other about the mutual cheating, they decide to experiment with the likes of an ‘open relationship’. Open relationships are an acquired taste and it’s really not for everybody. I believe modernity offers so much sex, it’s really so easy to stray and latch on to things that make more sense out of behaving a particular way.
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For Marin and Gabi, seeing other people, while still seeing each other made so much sense in their sex-charged love life that they both tried to adapt to the lifestyle, to the best of their abilities. They spy on one another flirting, they keep no secrets and have threesomes and it seems to be working for the two of them. Or so they think. Being in a open or a polyamorous relationship is incredibly tough if you’re not emotionally strong to handle it. Logically, it makes sense, while you find the ‘forever mate’, you’re allowed to experiment and experience other fractions of love too. But to understand the dynamic of such a relationship, the couple has to be a bit brazen in life. The projection of an open relationship in this movie though has been a bit bleak. While they have intertwined Gabi’s emotions and Martin’s dilemmas, they have failed to make sense of why they’ve pegged a romantic story as a soiree of sexual fantasies.
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But one good lesson that came out of this movie is the fact that people realise their mistakes only after they’ve made one too many. In this case, Martin and Gabi ultimately end up together after noticing how they’re actually incomplete without each other, while philandering about with other men and women. Do open relationships strengthen the bond between an existing couple? Something to think about.
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For now, I feel the audience was looking forward to falling in love with the idea of the characters being in love but that emotion was swiftly taken away from us. The basic essence of a couple in ‘love’ is missing in their characters and it makes the movie seem a little dull and dreary between the two of them, with no inner lives, no ‘life, likes and the universe’ kinda conversations and a black and grey perspective on everything. Is this the actual advent of modern day relationships? I shudder to think!
Watch the movie and decide for yourself!