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The Dating Project (2017)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 17 April 2018 (USA)
Five single people try to figure out dating in the age of social media, texting, hanging out and hooking up.


Jonathan Cipiti
1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Kerry Cronin Kerry Cronin ... Herself
Christopher Meehan Christopher Meehan ... Himself


Half of America is single. The way people seek and find love has radically changed. The hook-up, texting and social media culture have profoundly altered the dating landscape. Traditional dating has become "outdated," yet men and women still seek meaningful relationships. People are frustrated in love, but does anyone really know how to connect in today's virtual world? THE DATING PROJECT is a new non-fiction film from executive producer Steve McEveety (The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart), produced by Paulist Productions, Mpower Pictures and Family Theater Productions that follows five single people, ages 18-40, as they search for authentic and meaningful relationships. There is no script. There are no actors. These are real people trying to find love and happiness in an age of swiping left or right.

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17 April 2018 (USA) See more »


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User Reviews

Relevant and Relatable
18 April 2018 | by NostalgicQuixoteSee all my reviews

I was not sure at first whether to go see this movie or not. The subject is a touchy one for me, and as the film proves, for many people out there as well. It seemed to me that a film about dating could either focus on the awful way men and women treat each other these days, or offer simple solutions to a complicated problem. _The Dating Project_ successfully avoids these pitfalls. The film is as objective as a documentary can be, and it is neither bleak nor naïve.

The documentary focuses on five real people: two college students (one female, one male) in their late teens, a female college student in her twenties, a woman in her thirties, and a man in his forties. The first two, Shanzi and Matt, are a part of the hookup culture, it seems, without even realizing it: this is simply the way their generation "functions." Cecilia, the student in her twenties, is from Mexico but studies in the US, and finds it difficult to meet people in the first place. The woman in her thirties, Rasheeda, has a similar problem, because she has a job that takes up most of her time. Chris, finally, feels that life is passing him by while he decides whether he is ready for the commitment that a good, solid relationship entails. All of these people, who come from different cities (Boston, Monterrey, Chicago, Los Angeles), are looking for love, but they do not know how to go about it. At the center of the documentary is Dr. Kerry Cronin, a philosophy professor who gives her students (and ultimately, the viewer) a dating assignment, and explains the different stages of the lost art of traditional dating.

"I don't know how to date." "I don't know how to meet people." "It's difficult to find someone who is on the same page." "Some people think it's all about sex." "I meet good guys but those are not the guys that I date." "Why am I single?" You'll find all of these "states of heart" (and many more) in this documentary, so most viewers will be able to relate to at least one of the people introduced. As I watched the film, the old feeling rose up in me: the realization that we live in a world where so many people feel isolated, where so many people are desperate to meet someone who is out there desperate to meet them! Many of us are terrified of simply waiting only to find later in life that nothing has happened. The film captures this modern anxiety very well.

The movie reminded me of Erich Fromm's book _The Art of Loving_ (1956), which in my opinion is required reading for anyone thinking about going into a relationship. One of the ideas it conveys is that we are not naturally born with the ability to love, as we seem to assume; that love is an art, and as such, it must be cultivated. _The Dating Project_ is a great illustration of our society's lack of understanding, and sometimes lack of purpose, when it comes to relationships. The film doesn't claim that there were no problems in the age of traditional dating. It simply suggests that traditional dating would help many people to avoid the mistakes they would make by becoming a part of the shallow and unsatisfying hookup culture the media try to sell.

Documentaries have agendas, or theses; that simply comes with the genre. Some will also argue that as soon as you introduce a camera, you cannot speak of "real life." True. A film is a film, and life is life. What this documentary presents is a glimpse into lives that may resonate with viewers. It does not claim to represent an entire society. At times poignant, at times hilarious, _The Dating Project_ will speak to many viewers who long for a durable, meaningful connection. It is true without being depressing, and hopeful without being naïve.

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