Shannon Alexander’s Sex, Love, Misery: New New York is about dating in the Big Apple in these chaotic modern times. The writer-director-producer interviews half a dozen people living in NYC to discover what they want in a relationship, the ups and downs they face going on social media dates, and how they plan to work around COVID-19. Emile Filippi is French and loves wine, which excites Aisha Kerensa. She’s never been in a proper relationship, well, at least not since high school, as she sees no use for them. But Kerensa and Filippi’s instant chemistry might have her rethink what she truly wants.
Meanwhile, Izzie Zuniga and aspiring stand-up Jack Terzi plan a date. First impressions are awkward, and initial small talk is strained. Are the two able to make it up that proverbial hill and get over the embarrassment of this date to find mutual interests? The final match-up is between musician Troy Weekes, who loves confidence in his partners, and the fitness-centric Camila Anderson. She’s frustrated that he didn’t pull a move on their date but concedes that it was the first date, and such a thing might have been gouache. While the two are uncertain about their romantic prospects, they believe they could be good friends.
Sex, Love, Misery: New New York is technically very simple, with Alexander following her subjects around NYC or interviewing them in a room. But that is part of the charm of the documentary. The almost fly-on-a-wall approach the filmmaker takes allows audiences to see and understand each subject truly. In addition, her editing is ingenious, comparing and contrasting what one person says about the date versus what the other is saying. This creates some truly funny, endearing moments as well as some hard truth scenarios.
“…dating in the Big Apple in these chaotic modern times.”
Plus, these are some compelling people Alexander has found to follow. For as awkward and nervous as he can be, Terzi seems like he means well. Anderson’s workout routine highlights her disciple and resolve. Zugina makes no bones about never wanting to be married again, and her honesty proves most refreshing. At the same time, Weekes’ bigger-than-life personality makes him instantly likable.
But the stars here are truly Filippi and Kerensa. Given the trajectory of their relationship, they take up a majority of the 68-minute runtime, but they are also compelling. Whether discussing how in love they feel or calling one another not very nice things, these two are full of vim and vigor. It does not matter if things end well or not between them. It is evident that simply by meeting, Kerensa and Filippi’s lives have changed for the better.
Sex, Love, Misery: New New York is a fascinating glimpse into the modern dating scene during a global pandemic. Each person is engaging in their own right, making discovering who does and does not share chemistry all the more interesting. Thanks to the observational style taken by Shannon Alexander, viewers will be more than happy to live vicariously through these six folks for a moment.
To learn more about Sex, Love, Misery: New New York, visit its TikTok.
"…viewers will be more than happy to live vicariously through these six folks..."