Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Review

Monday, February 22, 2016

Let's Be Single

"Maybe you could accuse the film of being scattershot or episodic, but its piecemeal structure is key to its virtues. Instead of pummelling a single issue to death with sketch-like variations on a theme, the film manages to take on a wide range of themes and subjects, including the difficulty of self-sufficiency, realising when you want children, accepting the emotional baggage of others, sex as a cure for loneliness, and the fact that even our closest friends may remain entirely unknowable to us. The film doesn’t reinvent any wheels, and it doesn’t try to. But it hits a lot of small, important notes dead on, which helps How to Be Single rise above the rabble.

What gives it a real edge, however, is that it’s one of those rare films that endorses the status of being single. It says, maybe there is satisfaction to be gleaned from locations that aren’t inside a guy’s cargo pants. It would be rude to give the film’s ending away, but it’s a quietly radical gesture that celebrates independence without implying that we should all become cave-dwelling hermits who live off foraged roots and rainwater. It’s not a happy ending. It’s not a sad ending. But it’s a great ending, one that hinges on the mystery of looking deep into Dakota Johnson’s eyes and attempting to read her thoughts and predict her future."

When contemplating if I want to watch a movie or not, I look up reviews. In these critiques, I look for a general plot, notable highlights, the reviewer’s true depiction of the movie (whether it was good or not) and why. David Jenkins’ review on How to be Single fulfills all of these. After several paragraphs, Jenkins gives us a glimpse into the lives of the main characters and how their lives entangle, thus creating the plot. What makes this review stand out are the last two paragraphs. He speaks the truth of what this film is really about — an anti love story that incorporates the instability of adulthood. And before you are quick to categorize it into those cheesy comedies that deal with the exact same themes Jenkins mentioned, he delves into why this movie is different without giving the way the ending. The fact that "it's one of those rare films that endorses the status of being single" is enough to make me wonder what exactly goes on in this film. Best believe I texted my best friend asking her to watch the movie with me this upcoming weekend. 

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