While familiar with the way it investigates identity and image in a modern context, Belle remains ahead of the curve being intelligent enough to recognize that a cursory critique of social media isn't incisive. Hosoda astutely recognizes that humanism can transcend technological distortion. In the end, simulated realities are merely an extension of the social arena. Technology can be pervasive but it isn't pernicious by default and what I think struck me about Belle is how the film ultimately reminds us that blaming technology alone for social contention and ugliness in our world is a cop-out, an obfuscation from the much more complex and messy nature of socialization and communalism where the need for more altruism and empathy across all social strata is the only resolution. Despite the aversions of material reality and physical space, social media is not a net positive or net-negative, and in it's ability to connect us to others beyond our day-to-day spatiality Hosoda finds hope for the future, despite our proclivity as social creatures towards egoism, and judgment. A stunning visual treat, I love how the animation and world-building of the digital space reinforce the expanse of humanity, how small we really are as an individual, and yet how much power we have to influence others for the better through our actions.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.