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'We're All Going to the World's Fair' shows the danger of making assumptions

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Isolation is going to be a major theme in movies for a long time to come, and that was already going to be the case pre-pandemic. We're still in the early stages of figuring out and understanding just what impact our ultra-connected-but-somehow-completely-disconnected internet existence is going to have on us and on our interactions with others, and it's a question we can see artists trying to work out in real time.

We're All Going to the World's Fair is a tiny but impressively perceptive movie about some part of that confusion; about our loneliness despite instant connection, or maybe because of it; and about the stories we invent around the minuscule bits of information we get from other people through our computers. Most of the movie is focused on the face of Anna Cobb, who plays a teenager named Casey who sets out to play a sort of "horror game" that was birthed on the internet, but very much involves real life. Basically: she records herself reciting a phrase three times, watches a video, and then waits to see what happens.

Yes, this sounds familiar, but what we end up with is a smart, deeply sad examination of our anxieties, how the internet rabbit hole creates a rapid anxiety feedback loop, and how little wisps of connections with other people can actually be incredibly damaging, as we fill in the massive information gaps that surround those people. Where this all goes isn't exactly surprising, except in that it's not what we're trained to expect from a movie like this. We're All Going to the World's Fair isn't something I, personally, would typically choose to watch, but I ended up seeing it at Sundance last year, and it's a good example of why we should go outside what we think we know about a certain kind of movie, and the huge danger of making assumptions.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is available on VOD April 22.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.