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Intertwined arms on a white bedsheet
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDrake Doremus
Produced by
Written byBen York Jones
Music byGwilym Gold
CinematographySean Stiegemeier
Edited byLisa Gunning
Distributed byLost City
Release date
  • January 25, 2017 (2017-01-25) (Sundance)
  • November 3, 2017 (2017-11-03) (United States)
Running time
117 minutes
CountryUnited States

Newness is a 2017 American romantic drama film directed by Drake Doremus from a screenplay by Ben York Jones. It stars Nicholas Hoult, Laia Costa, Courtney Eaton, Danny Huston and Esther Perel.

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2017. It was released on November 3, 2017, by Lost City.


Martin (Hoult), a pharmacist, and Gabriella (Costa), a physical therapy assistant, live in Los Angeles. After a night of bad dates, the two return to the online dating app they both use frequently, match with each other and agree to meet at a bar. They spend the night talking and Martin mentions he used to be married. They then go back to Martin's apartment and have sex. They begin a relationship and, soon after, Gabriella moves in with Martin.

Visiting Martin's parents, his father tells Gabriella that his mother has dementia. She also sees various photos around the house of Martin's ex-wife, Bethany, and of an unknown girl. At home, Gabriella gets upset that Martin never mentioned his mother's condition or the girl in his childhood photos. He accuses her of being nosy and angrily reveals he had a sister who died when she was 16. They have a heated argument where Gabriella storms out. The next day, an acquaintance invites Gabriella to a dinner party while Martin goes clubbing with his co-workers. They both end up cheating but confess the next morning and decide to seek therapy. Through therapy, they decide to begin an open relationship.

Gabriella's friend, Blake, invites them to a party where they spend the night flirting with other guests. Martin bonds with Blake while Gabriella grows close to Blake's boss, an older man named Larry. The couple continues a string of hookups with other people until Gabriella suggests a threesome, to which Martin asks for Blake but Gabriella disapproves because they are friends. Gabriella soon starts spending more time with Larry and his daughter.

Meanwhile, Martin discovers his exwife recently had a child. Unsettled, he secretly watches old home videos. Martin later goes to a bar alone where he runs into Blake. After a night of drinking, he reveals Bethany miscarried when they were together and that he has unresolved feelings for her. The conversation makes Blake uncomfortable and she leaves. Martin returns home immediately to talk to Gabriella but she dismisses him. Later Larry gives Gabriella a necklace, which she later hides from Martin and they have sex. The next morning, Gabriella admits she climaxed during sex with Larry, which unsettles Martin. Gabriella discovers Martin's private messages to his ex-wife and he finds Larry's necklace causing the two to erupt. Gabriella leaves Martin and moves in with Larry.

Larry reveals that in two weeks, he will be leaving on a 2-year business trip around Europe, and invites Gabriella to join him. Martin and Bethany meet up after he sends her an email. She says she is happy even though her life has become boring and predictable; they part ways amicably. One night, Larry throws a party where Blake attends and Gabriella demands him to kick her out. He refuses, calling her immature. She then leaves to a club where she seduces two men before breaking down. She tries to talk to Larry the next day, but he says he doesn't care and belittles her and she leaves him. Later, she visits Martin who admits he was never really comfortable with an open relationship. They reconcile and redeclare their love for each other.



The film was financed and produced quickly, and shot during fall 2016.[1][2]


The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2017.[3][4] Shortly after, Netflix acquired worldwide SVOD distribution rights for the film.[5] It was released on November 3, 2017.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 69 percent based on reviews from 16 critics, with an average rating of 6.63/10.[7] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 50 out of 100, based on reviews from 8 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8]

John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "As a sympathetic look at two likeable lovers who don't know what's good for them, it's enough to give us a rooting interest — even if we're rooting for the two protagonists to accept the consequences of their mistakes and move on."[9] Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote: "The trouble with Newness — and the reason it's shot in such a clinical vérité fashion — is that it’s a thesis movie, heady and ambitious yet overly thought out."[10]


  1. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (January 9, 2017). "Surprise Drake Doremus Film 'Newness' Starring Nicholas Hoult & Donald Trump Doc Headed To 2017 Sundance Film Festival". The Playlist. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Winfrey, Graham (January 12, 2017). "Sundance 2017: Inside Drake Doremus' Secretive Online Dating Film 'Newness'". Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  3. ^ Lee, Ashley (January 9, 2017). "Sundance Adds Donald Trump Doc, Drake Doremus' 'Newness' to Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  4. ^ "Newness". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  5. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (2017-06-14). "Netflix Landing SVOD Rights To Drake Doremus' 'Newness'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  6. ^ Russian, Ale (October 3, 2017). "Nicholas Hoult Falls in Love - and Into a Sexy Open Relationship - in First Newness Trailer". People. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  7. ^ "Newness (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  8. ^ "Newness". Metacritic. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  9. ^ John DeFore (Feb 2, 2017). "'Newness': Film Review | Sundance 2017". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (23 January 2017). "Sundance Film Review: 'Newness'". Variety.

External links[edit]