Just before his big-break in filmmaking, forlorn Astor William Stevenson’s girlfriend, decides to break up with him. What follows are a series of jocular dates with women through romantic pursuits often misunderstood by Astor. Astor’s life falls apart like a pack of cards and how is what Newly Single is all about.

Director Adam Christian Clark, naming the film so at the risk of sounding much like an instruction manual for all the break-up ridden souls out there. However, much deeper into the narrative are sewn some ugly insecurities all of us harbor, but never speak of. Astor and Valerie, as is evident, share a 3-year-relationship after which Valerie fails to keep up with Astor shutting doors on her beliefs and culture.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Astor, who is an indie-filmmaker, after having seized the chance to take the biggest step in his career, now struggles with keeping himself content and peaceful. Newly Single is a story about many Astor(s) who remain consumed by the fear of confronting their real identities and ego that they had been hiding for so long. It is in this confrontation that one searches for liberation.

Astor prefers to go on several dates and does not feel hesitant towards admitting that it has been a week since he broke up. The relationship with his mother is only guided by a precept of words uttered but not meant. Looming over issues with coping the film is a stretched take on why it is after all necessary to not be so full of yourself.

But why should Astor not be so full of himself?

Through the introduction of the film itself, Clark points the audience’s minds towards the narrative and its intimate connection with the protagonist, i.e.- Astor. Being in a self-directed role, focusses on the many personal yet political opinions that go through a change when you’re all by yourself.

During one of the first dates that this man is on, the character’s fear of change are conveyed through his opinions on Feminism. It is here we see that Astor has the tendency to reduce things to a blip. Things that determine much of what he has become after the break-up. He defines feminism as a hurdle in the way of evolution, assuming the process is constant and convenient.

The thought put into lensing each frame from the point of view of Astor is loyally sticking to the intent of the film, already once established through the introduction. The framing compliments the intent that is to sympathize with the protagonist and his misery. Most of the scenes shot at Astor’s residence could remind one of ethos Her belongs to as a film based on similar narrative elements.

The camera playing with shades of browns and yellows are testament to the character’s need to be sympathized with. Astor almost passes for an egoistic indie-filmmaker who measures his masculinity using sex. But by the end what feels forced is being pushed a little too close to a protagonist, who will eventually turn into an asshole to the audiences by the end.

Newly Single has a lot going on within an hour’s worth of narrative. This is probably why it is easier to misunderstand someone in misery like Astor. The snafu in Astor’s life was written sensitively and directed with a vision to generate a sense of liberation. But for the screens, it was too much to comprehend at once. Clark certainly uses the banality in the man’s character that makes him seek much more than he can offer to his romantic interests. A kind motivation for what Astor became after the break-up would be like something Charlie Harper (Two and a Half Men) once said “A lot of people like salt, a lot of them like pepper, some of them like both salt and pepper. Me? I like women”.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Newly Single will always be reminiscent of an extremely articulate performance by Clark himself, so deeply involved in a newly constructed yet personal worldview. Admittedly, if I am asked to be brief- Astor is a better actor than Clark, the director.

By the end, the story misses the entire point of acceptance and acknowledgment as artists, and as artists having the power and mind to move on. Newly Single might not have touched upon all possible chords of the mess that an individual encounter right after a serious relationship. This is a story that will help commoners open up to the discourse about “She/He is gone. What now?”.


Newly Single Releases on VOD on 11th December. Pre-order NOW

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