Black Mirror TV series on Netflix, first released in 2011, came up with its third season in 2016; its first episode already reached an 8.3/10 IMDB rating. Directed by Joe Wright, Black Mirror Nosedive puts you in a dystopian future where people around you can rate you. This is a black mirror social media episode that brings the virtual world down to the real one. Now you have to maintain a great social life with friends and colleagues in order to receive other important and basic things of everyday life. This Black Mirror episode reflects a social media-obsessed society we are exposed to. Using the art form that movies/series are, we are going to appreciate one of the ways in which the director has presented this threat, which is through colours. This Black Mirror Nosedive review is all about the pretty appearances we see on the social media world.
Imagine a world where every person you come across can judge you on a scale of five, without even knowing your name. Imagine this judgment being so important that it decides whether you deserve a flight ticket, an apartment, or even medical treatment. And if that’s not all, imagine this judgment is visible to every person passing you and they immediately build an image of you. What happens when likes on your Instagram posts begin to fall, or when you stop getting new followers? How often do you compare the likes on your previous profile picture with the current one and find a huge downfall? Does it bother you? Does it make you feel degraded?
Let’s see how the black mirror nosedive depicts a social media-obsessed society
Social Media Obsessed Society
The scene opens on a bright morning and we see Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) is engrossed in her cellphone while jogging and during her exercises and we get her obsession right there. A little later, we see her giggling at her reflection in her mirror. Her name and 4.2-star ratings appear next to her face. Lacie is a status-obsessed, working woman living in a society that is ruled by social media ratings. She is looking for an apartment to move in to move away from her brother Ryan (James Norton) because he is 3.5 star. However, the apartment Lacey is hoping to buy is beyond what she can afford. But then, there is a 20% discount for those with a 4.5-star rating. Lacie lacks 0.3 stars.
She posts a picture of Mr Rags, a doll made of rags, and that post reunites her with her old friend Naomi (Alice Eve), a near-celebrity with 4.8 stars. Naomi invites Lacie to her wedding as the maid of honour to give a speech in front of 100 hundred people, all 4.7 or above. This was one opportunity for Lacie to increase her ratings and finally get the apartment.
However, things don’t go the way they are planned. Lacie’s flight got cancelled, the other flights were for those with 4.5-star ratings. This led her to take odd means of transportation. She got very late for the wedding. Naomi, who was earlier overwhelmed by the Mr Rags picture is now back to being mean and asks Lacie to go back home. By this time Lacie has covered half the distance and tells her that she will give her speech.
Lacie does reach the wedding covered in mud, tired, crying and her hair resembling a pack of hay. She does give her speech but not the one she had practised but what she actually felt. Lacieinsulted her, she insulted Paul and her rating went down to 0. She was ridiculed and arrested by the security guards.
She was put in jail. Her gadgets were confiscated. She removed her bridesmaid’s dress and sat all worn out. In a cell opposite hers, there was another man, and Lacie and the man began to hurl abuses at each other.
Absence of color
Pick up a still from the Nosedive episode and all you’ll see is soft pastel colours with Salmon, green, and shades of blue dominating the frame. Pastel colours are symbols of peace, openness, and freshness. Salmon, in particular, signifies hope, health, and happiness, teal, which is also the colour of the deep sea, signifies clarity of thoughts, truth, and faith and green is all about freshness and youth.
We see Lacie in teal and peach-coloured clothes, even the screen of the phone, suitcase, walls are in salmon, people appear to be in shades ranging from white to light blue, and in the background we see colours of nature like the wide sky or the trees. We don’t see any vibrant or hard colours. However, these colours that represent everything positive and happy are nothing but how we show ourselves on social media.
In contrast, recall the scene when Lacie is put in a cell. She doesn’t have her phone now, she has removed the wedding costume as well and all we see is shades of grey – from the walls and ceiling of the cell to the two characters’ costumes. Grey represents neutrality and the absence of colour. Lacie, along with losing access to social media, loses her social life, her image and we find her outside the virtual world, which is grey.
There’s another moment when Lacie is brought closer to the non-virtual world and that is when she is in the truck with the 1.4-star truck driver. In other words, once the brightness we show on the social media world is torn down, all we have is a hard solid truth – the one that is colourless and avoidable; the one where you can be yourself hurling abuses at each other without worrying to maintain a fake-smiling social life.
Black Mirror: Reflecting our darker selves to us
Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker had explained the Black Mirror as the screen of our gadgets and according to him, this glass is a mirror that shows our darker sides to us. Generally, Sci-fi episodes are such that they make us feel, “thank God, it’s not us.” However, the Black Mirror Nosedive episode makes us wonder, “aren’t we already halfway to this ugly world?”
Black Mirror Nosedive is voted as one of the scariest Black Mirror episodes. This is probably because of one reason – it made us realize how close we are to what we had thought to be a distant dystopian future. in 2016 an app called Peeple was launched which let people rate others around them in three categories – personal, professional, and dating. The negative reviews were kept hidden for 48 hours. In this time the reviewer and reviewee had a chance to mend their relationship.
While such apps would let users know what people around you think, it would increase depression and anxiety. While people will get busy to show their better, happier sides, their obsession with fake happiness would push them to nosedive, like what happened with Lacie. Her loneliness is seen in her eyes when she scrolls Naomi’s images with Paul, her fakeness is visible whenever she is interacting with people other than Ryan, and her desire to be among the “quality people” is more like an obsession for which she sees a consultant. Gradually, people would lose patience, like the women Lacie bumped against while leaving her home, and they wouldn’t even give a single thought before putting others down.
The speed at which we are moving towards the virtual world is quite horrifying. While every artist, chef, singer, dancer, etc., have found a platform, everybody is aiming to become an influencer and that is an obsession. Black Mirror series brings these obsessions face-to-face with us. How strange it is to think that taxi drivers are worried about giving a wrong impression because their ratings may go down or a food delivery man cares what you think about him because that’s going to retain his job. With this being the present scenario, have you wondered if Black Mirror Nosedive can happen in real life in the near future?
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