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  • Dana Piccoli

Lesbian rom-com "I Hate New Years" blends music and romance with delightful results

There are a few things I want in my rom-coms: lots of lesbians, great music, chemistry, and some laughs. I’m happy to report the new Tello Film’s feature, I Hate New Years has all of the above. The film, which premieres this Friday on pretty much every streaming service, is about a newly famous singer/songwriter named Layne, who is feeling the pressure of her meteoric rise to fame. Dealing with a serious case of writer’s block, Layne heads back to Nashville where she cut her teeth, hoping for inspiration for a new album. While there, she also hopes to reconnect with her best friend, fellow songwriter Cassie, who is secretly in love with Layne and plans to drop the news on her over the New Years' holiday. Cassie’s just going to have to wait though, because after meeting with a psychic (the legendary Candis Cayne), Layne becomes convinced she must find her ex-girlfriend and either get back together or get some closure. Along the way, Layne runs into friends she left behind in Nashville, including her old bandmates, and plenty of hijinks.

Dia Frampton as Layne

If you are going to have a movie based in Nashville about songwriters, you better have great music, and lo and behold, there’s plenty in I Hate New Years Eve. Nashville isn’t just the bastion of country music, it’s where the world’s finest songwriters live and work. Director Christin Baker has found herself an incredible cast to work with on this film and always manages to make her projects feel much grander than their indie budget would allow. Screenwriter Kathryn Trammell finds a balance between the funny and tender moments, not unlike in her debut, Season of Love. The score is composed by Elmer Kinsella, with fantastic original songs by Billy Steinberg and Josh Alexander. (Steinberg and Alexander are the writing team behind Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break.”)

Ashley Argota as Cassie and Dia Frampton as Layne

Candis Cayne is an absolute delight, breaking the fourth wall and letting us in on her magical plans with just the raise of an eyebrow. She plays two characters (or are they one?) who instantly make you smile when they come into frame. Dia Frampton, who you may recognize from The Voice, plays Layne. With a solid set of chops and a manic pixie dream girl vibe, Frampton is perfect for the role of a rising star who can’t see the magic right in front of her. Nickelodeon star Ashley Argota is the sweetly charming Cassie, who lights up all of Nashville with her smile. A mega-talented singer as well, Argota will blow you away with her big solo number, which just happens to be a love song for her clueless bestie. Argota and Frampton have that ever-important chemistry, which makes the slow burn of Cassie and Layne feel like something out of a queer romance novel. (As someone who has written a queer romance novel, this is a big compliment.)

Andrew Brennen as Freddie and Candis Cayne as Zelena/Marley

Love, friendship, catharsis, harmony, magic. It’s all there in I Hate New Years. In addition to a very queer story, the creative team behind the film (Ashley Arnold, Danielle Jablonski and Christin Baker) is proudly LGBTQ.

I Hate New Years is available starting this Friday, December 4th through Tello Films, Amazon, Google Play, Comcast, Charter, Direct TV, iTunes, and Dish.

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