Newness [2017] ★★½

In the age of swiping left and right, is true love dead? Director Drake Doremus (“Like Crazy”) raises a very important question before shifting his focus on open relationships. Nicholas Hoult hooks up with Laia Costa through a dating app. They supposedly fall in love, but before long they agree to start seeing other people, while living together. That’s “Newness” in a nutshell, a movie for the 21st century that takes a harrowing look at the wide-ranging impact that social media and “dating apps” is having on our everyday lives. Is Doremus preaching? That’s up to you to decide. You can view this movie as a cautionary tale or simply become engaged with the lives of these people. Either way, there’s no denying that the film is effective at times, that’s because it feels real. It does lose some of its good momentum in the third act and never truly recovers, but the reward for sitting through “Newness” comes in watching Hoult and Costa, who are so believable they almost make up for those shortcomings.

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