In Casey Gates’ latest short Crystal, data is the key to the heart.
This Black Mirror and Her meet-cute is a loaded comedy full of wit and modernity as Darcy (Manon Matthews) enlists the help of an app to secure her Mr. Right. Disgruntled by her lack of success with relationships her co-worker tells her about an app, ‘Crystal’ that basically scans your entire phone (definitely hacking, bit dodgy imo) for all your information, posts, interests, photos and texts. Based off that data Crystal can then determine your compatibility with the person whose profile you input into the app.
Crystal is what the kids might call ‘a savage’, she’s an advanced AI and talks to Darcy through her headphones, knocking back sarcastic comment after sly dig. For example, Crystal knows that Darcy wants children before even she does, based on the fact that Darcy has liked more pictures of her friends babies than of food and travel—which she claims are her top two interests.
While Crystal could quite easily fall into a rom-com trope of a woman absolutely desperate to get a guy, the film swiftly avoids such pitfalls with Darcy’s self-aware comedy. Ultimately, the short shows the difficult navigation of being a modern woman; of being stuck between wanting to stick to feminist principles but also to get the fairy tale ending and the white picket fence.
Having reviewed one of Casey’s previous film’s ‘Girl Code‘ for Screen Queens, and screened her short ‘John Smith was a F*ckboy‘ on the site too, her work regularly takes on issues of modern living, and how we navigate the world with these new technologies and new outlooks. Fortunately for anyone seeking a good giggle, it never gets too heavy. Casey and co-writer Dan Frey are adept comedy writers, delivering nuanced jokes with perfect timing and for me, a distinctly millennial dry humour. I for one would love to see an AI, tech-based rom-com feature length that actually puts the woman in control for once, and Crystal is certainly a building block to do so.