STREAMER opens with Jared ( co creator Jared Bratt ) making a confessional video of sorts, which is a genuine question and plea to the world - 'Why do girls hate me?' He sits and stares at his computer screen, debating whether or not to upload on YouTube for all to see. "No one fucking notices me……" he says during the video. "I just want to be able to love and be loved……I know I'm worthy."
The 28 year old does not come off whiny or pathetic, instead I'm feeling complete empathy towards him, recognizing the unfair and brutal comparing of oneself to those that have managed to acquire love and meaning. As the movie slightly progresses we see and feel his utter desperation to connect, his overwhelming loneliness, the feeling of being unfulfilled. All of this reminding me of Travis Bickle from the classic Martin Scorsese film, Taxi Driver. Evenings eating and drinking solo, watching T.V. and strolling through the city without someone to chat with, falling asleep without someone to hold - or hold you. Constantly being without anyone to connect with is just gnawing at Jared, and if you're like most, you have experienced this in your lifetime too. It's almost gut wrenching to watch him slowly fall apart at the seams in this honest and painful character study.
To compensate somewhat for his loneliness, Jared watches a beautiful web cam girl ( Tanya Lee ), who he later finds to live within his very own apartment building. He attempts to establish a genuine friendship with her. Obviously he hopes to turn this into something more, but it is difficult. He's shy and introverted, lacking confidence with the opposite sex. His desperation to connect on a deep, meaningful level with a woman just emanates from him and despite whatever issues he may or what drove him to this level of despair, he continues to want to try.
An encounter with the web cam girl at the laundry room, and the infusion of one of the best ice breakers ever - smoking some weed together, help Jared at least initiate some dialogue. A friendship is forged and for once we see Jared smile, and I'm truly cheering him on. When he learns they have quite a bit in common, it excites Jared. He interprets this as promising and attractive, adding allure to his good-looking, fun and perhaps innocently impulsive neighbor. I can only imagine personally to wholeheartedly believe he found what he was searching for was nothing short of Divine happiness, that feeling of completeness.
The more time he spends with her however, the more obsessed he becomes. Jared begins to have delusions of them as a couple, and continually lays awake at night thinking of her. An unhealthy attachment presents itself and when he witnesses her with her actual boyfriend, Jared is absolutely crushed. A loss of complete hope, and faith shake the young man. Thoughts of her consume him in every way possible and he can't escape the need to be loved and wanted. Bitterness is an expected side effect of all these emotions, yet I'm not sure if he experienced this. Self loathing perhaps, displaying a variation of being a glutton for punishment when it came to matters concerning her. She doesn't necessarily lead him on, she is forthcoming about her relationship and goals in life, However, she naively either negates his feelings towards her or is oblivious. All the while Jared just kept building this young woman up and up within his own mind, that when she eventually does fall from the pedestal, it is a fierce crash. It didn't matter anymore if he felt worthy, or what he may have to offer. What mattered is that his hopes, dreams, aspirations - his largest need was ignored, yet again left unfulfilled. When your greatest desire in this existence has eluded you mercilessly your entire life, things can begin to be seen in a uninspiring and hopeless perspective. For Jared, to be so close to all he wants, no needs and have it all savagely revoked…..well it's hard to get back up let alone properly function afterward. It's a rowdy wounding which leaves a salty memorable scar.
STREAMER is a deeply personal story, depicting the greatest fear of some, never finding love and never feeling wanted or needed. Living a life alone when everyone around you seems to be part of completed whole. The feature I believe tries to put some focus on the caution that should be used when unhealthy, unproductive levels of obsession and loneliness are reached. The film is skillfully shot, effective in it's portrayal of 'real' and 'ordinary' people. Tanya Lee can easily be your friend, sister, classmate, lover and the exact same for Jared. Pacing may be an issue for some, but in my humble opinion, it compliments the journey and gives us the time to really grasp the desperation strangling our love-sick friend. I commend Bratt and Pun for bravely creating such a sincere and realistic emotional study of human needs and human connection - including the dark possibilities when these are repeatedly not found, making oneself so vulnerable. In this case mild mannered Jared could not cope and a drastic uncharacteristic action changes everything for everyone involved. This one here deserves a gander folks, providing the opportunity to see the talent at work, and the potential they possess.
"A man so painfully in love is capable of self-torture beyond belief."
-John Steinbeck East of Eden