We met in virtual reality. 2022
Written and Directed by Joe Hunting
Shot entirely in the world of virtual reality, this documentary captures the excitement and surprising intimacy of a burgeoning cultural movement, demonstrating the power of online connection in an isolated world.
Meaningful human connection is not limited to the person. Frankly, it hasn’t been for a while. It also took a global health crisis forcing lockdowns and isolation to open our eyes to how far the internet has come in offering substantial alternatives, be it friendships or serious relationships. Joe Hunting is undeniably immersive, beautifully powerful We met in virtual realitywhich examines the lives and stories of some of these people told as part of the VR Chat cultural phenomenon (which range from individuals referred to by usernames coping with anxiety and disabilities to committed love to confessions of applying saving from suicidal thoughts to grieving the loss of siblings) should result in more converts.
And while the backdrop of people practically coming together more than ever during a pandemic adds another layer of emotion here, all of these stories would have impact without it. There are also exciting questions related to the documentary process, such as how these virtual reality chat avatars (which are deeply rooted in freedom of speech not always allowed in the real world as much as it comes to silly costumes or cosplays of famous fictional characters) interact with. Suddenly, messing around and talking to others in virtual reality, something totally interactive, takes on a refreshing life. Technically, we could deposit We met in virtual reality under animated features. Whichever way you slice it, it’s sure to be one of the most unique and captivating experiences of the year.
Nor is the above a statement that I make lightly. As a physically disabled person, I can most definitely relate to someone who joins this virtual reality, slowly letting go of some insecurities that only exist in the outside world. For me, it’s easier to text someone and get to know them before having long conversations in person, so there’s an understanding here when someone talks about finding the courage to wake up and talk to a girl. However, it also goes beyond the unsuitable aspect. Throughout the short 90-minute documentary (which effectively and thoughtfully contains several threads to watch), it is evident that these people see beyond the flesh and truly only care about the personality, even when they finally meet in reality. There is nothing healthier than that.
These stories are also filled with universally heartbreaking moments, like an online couple recreating what it will be like when they meet in person creating an airport world inside. virtual reality chat. Romantic arcs could be seen as layups to generate an emotional response (especially for anyone who’s ever attempted a long-distance relationship), so it’s pleasantly welcome that Joe Hunting is exploring outside the box, like following an ASL teacher. virtual class or belly dance class. Such things also help shape a virtual world out of the unlimited potential for fun as much as it is a connection that could grow into something stronger.
While I have no doubt there is a lot of trolling and toxicity in some spaces, it’s also worth noting that the communities studied and interviewed in We met in virtual reality are welcoming to a degree where identity seems to be a non-issue. These people are free to be themselves, while the outside world does not always allow them. To many, these avatars will aesthetically resemble anime nonsense, but there are little touches, secrets, and flourishes that speak to the individual. Likewise, it is an outlet for artistic creation, whether it is to create an original costume or a wedding dress for a virtual reception. These people are also keen to make it known that they don’t indulge in gimmicks for fun. A virtual wedding for these characters ensures it will happen in the outside world down the road.
There’s something for everyone in VR, whether it’s an awkward distraction and evasion of responsibility, a place to process death (an amazing sequence that brought me to tears for the third time watching this documentary), or for love to bloom unexpectedly. As a longtime gamer who never really found the appeal of VR or online gaming in general, We met in virtual reality is a revelation even for tech-savvy viewers. It’s a groundbreaking approach to documentary cinema brimming with more emotion than some filmmakers will ever conjure up in their entire careers.
Scintillating Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter Where Letter boxor email me at [email protected]