SFW Review: Alt. Life

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This influential short film is rich in lessons for the current digital generation searching for online attention. The film follows the online interaction between two young adults who are attempting to reconnect through social media. 

The boy falsely represents himself on his profile as a health guru; measuring his likeness to a highly adept fitness king. But in reality, he is meek. He gorges on junk food and soda, which are far from healthy. He even goes to great lengths to buy tight-fitting clothes to show off his “bulging” muscles which, in fact, are edited by imaging software. He thrives on the attention and is good at what he does-making others believe in the character that he has created. His life seems idyllic, but as we learn, it is far from great; the boy is deeply dissatisfied with his body, and he hates the way he looks.

After coming upon his profile, the girl begins falling in love with the boy’s online personality. Soon, she gathers the courage and asks him out. Where, appearing to accept her invitation, the boy agrees. Even posting a public photo, entitled #datenight, to commemorate the moment. However, despite agreeing to the meet up, the frightened boy is incapable of facing reality and blows the girl off. 

As she waits anxiously for him, the girl becomes heartbroken, and eventually goes home. When she asks him why he didn’t show up, she is confronted with a cold shoulder and blocked. Naturally, she responds with anger. But instead of letting it go, the girl gets the boy’s home address and drives to his house. When she confronts him again (but in person) , he can no longer hide from her and she finally sees the person he has become. A sad, broken-down version of the boy online.

The film takes on one of the most compelling messages that I have ever seen and that is: trying to be something that you are not, will only leave you more empty than you were before. And living your life solely to satisfy others, will habitually be at the enormous expense of your own happiness.