How to Be Single, starring Dakota Johnson of 50 Shades of Gray and Rebel Wilson of Pitch Perfect, premiered just before Valentine’s Day of this year. The romantic comedy, with emphasis on the word comedy, grossed over 45 million dollars in the first month as streams of singles and couples with a sense of humor made their way to theaters for the film.
The sassy events in the two hours of film were set in New York City where recently single Alice (Johnson) has entered the scene to start her life as a newly independent woman. She quickly meets Wilson’s character Robin who introduces her to the ‘right’ way to be single in the city.
Conservative Alice’s eyes are opened to the possibility of the single side of New York City- the men, the bars, the drinks, the men, the girlfriends, and, of course, the men. She encounters other singles such as Lucy, David, Tom, Meg, and Jason who are also unattached people making their way through the uncharted waters of singleness.
While some bemoan their situation, others thrive in it and run from any chance of the dreaded R word… relationships. A spattering of mindsets are portrayed through the different characters, depicting the cliché personas of single people in their twenties and thirties.
Alice has broken up with her boyfriend of four years, leaving their safe relationship for a life of unknown. Robin, her fast friend, is the opposite, living up every bit of singleness opportune her by the New York City Streets, falling into the most available arms at the end of long nights of drinking to capacity.
Alice’s sister, Meg, is ‘single by choice,’ pursuing her career before men and openly claiming that she does not need one. Lucy, a character unconnected to the others, is single because she is waiting for perfection as defined by charts and lists that she has compiled.
The men of the movie also provide stereotypical characteristics of singles. Tom is the bartender with a reputation for no commitment but an endless string of women waiting for him nonetheless. Single dad David is looking for love despite not being quite ready for it, and Jason is the single but relationship ready man that is snatched up in the end by an unexpected character.
Amidst all the chaos and mixed opinions of what it means to be single out in the world, Alice finds her place and what exactly it means to be single for her.
The movie is oddly uplifting, reminding women that there is nothing wrong in choosing to be single while also allowing the sub-characters to prove that choosing to not stay that way is also an acceptable route. A wide success, How to be Single incorporates stereotypes, but just enough that everyone can have someone to relate to while they watch.