Nowadays, everything is done digitally – paying your bills, ordering goods, keeping up with friends and family, and even finding love. 11% of Americans have used a dating app or website to meet their significant other – yours truly included – and moving forward that number is only going to increase.
Online relationships today are commonplace, but remember back in the day, say around the turn of the 21st century, when everything internet was still new and thus a little sketchy? If you were looking for love on the world wide web back then, it wasn’t something you advertised, in fact, it was a bit shameful, like there was something wrong with you, like you couldn’t hack it in the real world and thus had to retreat to the internet, which at the time was perceived as an amalgam of fantasy and reality where nothing could really be trusted.
This is the world and time in which Sean Buckelew’s charming and bittersweet animated short film Lovestreams is set. Taking place in the early 2000s, the film concerns two young folk who meet chatting on AOL IM – remember that? – and who develop strong feelings for one another despite never physically meeting. Their love develops digitally, which is where the film takes a turn into the fantastical, examining issues of connection – technological and emotional – identity, love, and artifice in the age of information.
Part nostalgia, part eulogy, and all touching, Lovestreams is for anyone who ever felt a connection they couldn’t entirely trust but desperately wanted to believe in; or, you know, all of us.