Last night, once again attempting to decide what I should watch on Netflix, I noticed that season three of Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ had been released. An anthology series of speculative fiction that’s usually dark and sometimes even ‘bleak’, as Brooker claims himself, Black Mirror is just up my street. It’s satirical themes that question and examine modern society and present to us thousand’s of plausible ‘what if’s’, Black Mirror is not only exceptional original writing, it’s visually great to watch, and is layered with symbolism throughout.
Nosedive is the first episode in the new season. Starring Brice Dallas Howard who plays Lacie Pound, we follow her through her day to day life in a future that seems not too distant from one that we live in now. Everyone is obsessed with image and how others perceive and rate them, not only figuratively, but also literally – everyone has a visible rating that you can see by looking at someone (with some high tech program fitted into you eyes). Everyone is incredibly nice. So nice, so sweet, it’s enough to give you diabetes just looking at them interact with each other.
Throughout, we meet one character named Chester, who works with Lacie, we shown what happens if someone to drop below a 3 on the rating score. No one will talk to Chester, let alone rate him, and soon he is even unable to get the office doors to open for him because his score is so low. I was beginning to wonder at this point just what would happen if someone were to reach a score of zero…
Lacie, who is a very decent 4.something, desires to move into a fancy apartment block, Pelican Cove’, but after realizing she cannot afford the weekly rent payments, she makes it her mission to reach a 4.5 score to get into the ‘prime’ club and get a 20% discount for the apartment.
Of course thing’s don’t work out so easily for Lacie.
As this is a review, and I want to encourage you all to go and watch Nosedive for yourself, I won’t say much more. But I do want to talk about the ending.
Anyone can realize what Nosedive is trying to show us. Right now we live in a world where people are obsessed with Instagram likes, how many followers they have, how many people re-tweet their tweets. We take photos of what we’re eating, what we’re doing, and try to present ourselves and our amazing lives in the best way possible. Nosedive really isn’t that far away from what western society is like now, and perhaps if we keep going this way, it really is how we’ll live in the future. Repressed, fake shells of the people we actually are, the people we used to be. So concerned with how people rate us that we forget to be ourselves, we forget to look around without seeing someone else’s number. We compare ourselves to everyone. We loose sleep. We break our jaws from fake smiling too hard. What Nosedive is trying to tell us is, it’s all fake and frankly…unimportant.
In the end, we see a poignant and incredibly beautiful scene between Lacie and another man who has lost his score. They insult each other with some of the best insults I’ve ever heard, like “Your whole head is so ridiculous to me”. They swear at each other, they shout, they set themselves free. You can tell that they feel utterly free. I honestly found the ending to Nosedive so unexpectedly raw, real and just overall stunning I wanted to cry. The ending really summed up the episode perfectly, about how important it is to know, realize and accept that not everyone will like you, and you don’t have to like everyone either. Just like your Mother might have told you.
Beauty isn’t in our perfections, happiness isn’t in our perfect Instagram pictures of coffee, who we are as a person isn’t dependent on what some person on twitter you’ve never met thinks of you. It’s in our human nature not to be perfect, and that’s what makes life so fucking worth it. So worth being exactly who we want to be, regardless of anyone else.