Top 5 Things you can watch on a screen that explore the human relationship to technology

By Jane Bauer

  1. Black Mirror (2011-now)

A television anthology series much like The Twilight Zone that shows the dark side of life and technology. Every episode is mind blowing, using just enough real technology and logical human behavior to make the viewer sit up and be self-reflective. Each episode stands alone as a mini-film with top actors such as Bryce Dallas Howard, Jon Hamm and Oona Chaplin to name a few. Available on Netflix.

  1. Her (2013)

What do we get from relationships in this modern age? Spike Jonze’s classic film follows Theodore, a writer, who develops a relationship with his OS (think Siri), Sam. Sweet and sad, it is an honest portrayal of technology’s shortcomings when it comes to the human heart and the isolating effect of being so connected. Joaquin Phoenix’ performance is stellar and Jonze picked up an Oscar for the Original Screenplay.

3.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

What if we could erase our memories and banish the pain of heartbreak from our consciousness? I love this film because it doesn’t feel futuristic and yet it explores some very interesting questions about whether technology can help our emotional lives and whether it should. The original screenplay by Charlie Kaufman also got an Oscar. Great movies start with great writing!

  1. You’ve Got Mail (1998)

You are mistaken if you think Nora Ephron’s remake of The Shop Around the Corner is just a sappy romantic comedy. Don’t be fooled by how aesthetically delicious it is; NYC in the fall, manual typewriters, paperback books. This film does a brilliant job of contrasting old-fashioned values with modern conveniences and raises questions about the integrity of technology and big business. It shows technology as an accessory to modern life but in the end acknowledges that nothing replaces real human connection.

  1. While We’re Young (2014)

Struggling documentary filmmaker Josh and his wife befriend a younger couple. Together they attempt to make a documentary film about connecting in real life with people from Facebook. Hilarious and smart, this film questions the validity of identity and truth in our modern world.

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