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Monday, 17 October 2016

Film Review: How to be Single (2016)


“Why do we always have to tell our stories through relationships?'” Is one of the first lines in this movie which immediately makes you think 'well isn't that what you’re about to do?' If like me you saw this film's trailer, you'd perhaps think it's just another Valentine's Day romp. Girl learns how to date and eventually finds the one and falls in love. Effectively nothing about singlehood.

You’d be surprisingly mistaken. The film follows Alice, played by Dakota Johnson, who finds herself single after her boyfriend breaks up with her. She moves in with sister Meg (Leslie Mann) - a self-confessed workaholic - in an attempt to ‘find herself’, all with the help of her co-worker Robin (Rebel Wilson). This self-discovery process does disappointingly begin with excessive dating. Yet at the same time, the film completely redeems itself in its depiction of singlehood (even if it paints fairly broad strokes) and its exploration of personal growth in Alice.

Dakota Johnson’s authenticity and subtle charm are what carries this film despite there being bigger names than herself. Though the main cast have chemistry that is both warm and genuine, Leslie Mann and Rebel Wilson have perhaps been underused by the film’s director Christian Ditter. Both have proven their intuition with comedy time and time again and yet Leslie Mann’s improv prowess never makes an appearance. And while Rebel Wilson does deliver some laugh out loud lines, she’s once again ‘fat Amy’, the sidekick slotted in as nothing more than a plot device to connect some of the film’s secondary characters together and, is never given any character development.

How to be Single however is wonderfully self-aware. It successfully rectifies the faux pas of rom-coms by celebrating independence without being condescending or judgemental about relationships.

 8/10
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