A group of friends celebrate their annual 1/2 New Year party but things take a turn for the complicated when their friendships, relationships and goals are tested. Directed by Tom Morash, co-written by Georgia Menides and lead actor Drew McAnany, with: Bo Youngblood, Shanley Caswell, Brooke Lewis Bellas, Rome Flynn, John Ierardi and Jeff Dye.
One of the early things you might notice watching 1/2 New Year is the dialogue and the fact that these characters talk like actual people, avoiding the classic problem with dramas of the writing including phrases that you’d never hear a person say in real life. Things take a surprisingly serious turn early on to get the story going, it may feel slightly like a soap opera plot twist but thankfully it’s more convincing. 1/2 New Year explores the fact that youth comes with its pitfalls, or put more simply, life can be fucked up, especially when you add drugs to the mix.
The pace starts off well but it does slow down as it enters the second half and begins to trek some more well travelled territory and loses a little of the individuality that it held earlier on. There are also some elements of the film that are more believable than others, with a slight awkwardness to the less convincing aspects, mostly portraying the characters while high is a little off the mark. However, it is satisfying to see a large mix of friends with different backgrounds and qualities, rather than the usual stereotypical few with the same ideas, jobs and opinions.
Considering there is a rather unexpected moment early on, things are relatively tame from then on and it’s a little disappointing to not see anything else surprising, it becomes somewhat predictable. The characters are lacking a depth and with some, a relatability, they all have their issues and rightly so because no-one’s perfect but without more unexpected elements, it’s hard to really invest in their stories because you can see where they’re going.
1/2 New Year starts off well and gives us a story of young people that feels more real than a large handful of dramas but it slowly wades into repetitive ground. There was unrealised potential going on in the film, it could have dealt with some more difficult issues rather than focusing mostly on the friendship/romance paradigm. It’s enjoyable and nice to see a more accurate portrayal of modern friendship but it’s simply a shame to see it remain on the safe side and not take a few more risks.