The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Film Review: 'The Heart Machine'

By Neha Aziz, March 10, 2014, 3:51pm, Picture in Picture

Do we ever really know anything about the people we meet on the internet?

The concept of dating is supremely more different in this decade than any other. Many of us do not meet organically anymore [insert quirky meet cute here]. There is online dating for essentially every age group, religion, and lifestyle (hi, Farmers Only). There are even apps for casual hook-ups based on location. The Heart Machine dives headfirst into technology-driven dating with the relationship between Cody (John Gallagher Jr.) and Virginia (Kate Lyn Sheil).

When Cody and Virginia meet each other on OkCupid, he lives in New York City and she's in Berlin. They Skype and call each other but have never physically met. The couple seem to be in it for the long haul, since Virginia is headed back to New York soon. While on their weekly Skype session, Cody hears an ambulance siren on Virginia's side, raising questions about whether she is actually in Berlin like she claims. With Facebook, Twitter, and other internet entities, Cody feeds his apprehension and paranoia to find the truth.

The Heart Machine explores an interesting case study about tech-dating, but it doesn't quite get where you want it to. When Virginia's story begins to unfold, this reviewer couldn't help but find the results a little lackluster. That being said, the film still has a deeply compelling storyline and solid performances from Gallagher and Sheil.

The Heart Machine

Narrative Competition, World Premiere
Thursday, March 13, 4:30pm, Rollins

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