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The Dating Project

The documentary "The Dating Project" will be shown only once, on Tuesday, April 17, at Rave Cinemas in Davenport. 

This would be the perfect date movie — that is, if anyone dated anymore.

“The Dating Project,” whose subtitle is ”A movie for every single person,” is a documentary. Don’t think that means it isn’t interesting or full of fascinating characters, because it is. It’s every bit as engaging, compelling and thought-provoking as a feature film.

The movie’s demographic is the 50 percent of people in the United States who are single. Of those, it’s especially aimed at people in their early 20s to 40s who seek a partner they can love and with whom they can form a relationship. The script follows in particular five different people who consider why they are alone, what their romantic history is like and what they think about the concept of dating.

At the center of the movie is Kerry Cronin, known as “the dating doctor,” a professor at Boston College who teaches her students about dating (check out some of her wonderful lectures on YouTube if you’d like to do a little research before you go.)

She actually assigns her students to go on dates, and talks about three levels of dating. A level one date shouldn’t go longer than 90 minutes, she says. She suggests that a level one date should be a daytime thing, and not involve alcohol.

“Asking someone on a date is so much of a bigger deal than hooking up,” one young woman says. “You know that the person is interested in you, knows what you look like in the light, and it’s really hard to expose yourself like that.”

Cronin, students and others in the movie discuss why young adults don’t date anymore. She talks about the “hook-up” culture that is so prevalent now and has been for some time.

Some of the students are befuddled by the assignment. Other people, including a man in his 40s, discuss their fear of commitment.

Some of the people the film follows are incredibly lonely. One young woman breaks down in a moment that’s liable to bring you to tears, too. Her simple longing for someone with whom to share her life is relateable, regardless of your age or your dating status.

The film encourages people to talk face-to-face to each other instead of texting or posting on social media.

The Paulist Productions film, in association with Mpower Pictures, is not a faith-based film per se, but it does involve one character who discusses her walk of faith and how her faith guides her.

It’s eye-opening and a great conversation starter whether or not you take a date.


Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.