By William Nash
“Black Mirror’s” Nosedive presents an alternate future in which social media controls all aspects of daily life. The episode stars Bryce Howard as a social media-obsessed 20-something named Lacie Pound, and Alice Eve as Lacie’s beautiful and successful childhood friend, Naomi.
The episode explores the anxiety and power social media holds in our current lives. The power social media has in our lives is explored through Lacie’s obsession to gain approval, eventually leading to her downfall.
Nosedive begins with Lacie attempting to buy a luxurious apartment. However, her online score is too low to purchase the apartment. In this future, people rank each other on an online website that is viewed by every person you come into contact with.
Ranks are not only seen by others, but are used to determine the products you can buy and places you are allowed to go. Lacie begins with a 4.2 ranking when she receives an opportunity to attend a wedding thrown by her 4.8 ranked friend Naomi.
At the airport, her flight is canceled, causing Lacie to go off on the clerk. Lacie is then punished by a guard with a temporary one-point reduction and a double-point reduction. Lacie has negative experiences causing her score to get lower and lower.
Lacie has a heartfelt encounter with a trucker who stopped caring about ratings after her husband was refused cancer treatment because his score was too low. By the time, she reaches the wedding, she has a score of 2.6, and Naomi wants her to leave because her score is too low. Naomi also reveals she only invited Lacie to show to her friends that she is a nice person.
Lacie has a meltdown in front of the entire crowd as they down-vote her. She is later arrested for her behavior. Inside the jail, Lacie speaks her mind, which brings her relief.
Nosedive uses distinct aesthetics to show the superficial attitude of the society Lacie lives in. The buildings and outfits are all colorful, preppy and manicured to look “too” perfect. The outfits and buildings were reminiscent of dystopian films such as “Pleasantville” and “The Truman Show.”
One thing that stood out was how all the people who did not care about ratings wore normal clothes, while those who tried for high ratings wore extravagant, almost freak-like vibrant clothes. I believe this represents how people who have seemingly amazing lives are miserable, while ordinary people who do not care about likes are happier.
Another irony that stood out was how Lacie was only free to speak her mind when she was arrested and had the lowest rating possible. This represents how we build a fake world and act differently to come off as people we are not.
Nosedive exaggerates the feelings we express on social media. However, Nosedive does capture the feeling of being someone we aren’t, just to be accepted by social media.