IFFR – Perfect Boyfriend

While it mixes human relationships with technology, ‘Perfect Boyfriend’ is a cynical portrait of human connections these days. Directed by Alain Della Negra and Kaori Kinoshita, the film depicts the lives of three adults who relate to a virtual doll. The three act as if that character is a real person, taking her wherever they go and interacting as if she was actually there. The film shows how each individual deals with this in their own way, showing that even if it’s the same digital character, the real actions and feelings are what makes the experience so unique and special.

The film also works as a portrait about loneliness and how many people find the necessary comfort in the internet. It’s as if that character they fell in love with is enough to fill the void that life caused in them. One of the characters has a real life girlfriend who tries to get his attention, but he seems to be more interested in interacting with the digital character who is the one idealized by him. And maybe that’s an example of how we’re just looking for something that brings us total comfort. Having a digital girlfriend is a way to escape from all the discussions and complexities that make a relationship. It’s an aching need for something that makes us escape from all the pain and the heartbreak from the real world.

The digital cinematography helps to make the film look more real, sometimes it even feels like we are watching a documentary about digital relationships and it helps to set the tone of the narrative, showing how much technology is part of our everyday life. The acting is very natural and realistic, though it can come across as amateurish at first. For a film based on relationships that are so complex, the storytelling is quite simple. It’s a layered story told in a very straightforward narrative. The score is compelling and makes the final scene linger with us after we finish the film.

Perhaps the sincerity of the story may seem too cynical at times, but this portrait about the digital impact on interpersonal relationships is gripping enough to make the experience worth it.