How to not ask for a phone number
Over 5 billion people in the world own mobile devices. That’s a staggering 66.5% of the world’s population. Our entire world has been completely digitalized, from online shopping and entertainment through to the way we interact with friends and family. That’s important to remember going into Anonymously You; a film that relies so heavily on its plot contrivances that it buckles under the weight of ridiculousness.
Despite the sickly sweet tone surrounding this romcom, I’m going to be a massive Grinch on this one and admit Anonymously You is an incredibly annoying and frustrating film.
The story begins simply enough with an accidental text message. Alex messages Vale, who happens to be a fellow student at his school. What are the odds, eh? Well, sometimes these things are just fate and the two soon start a budding digital friendship. They share lots of secrets with one another but despite their closeness, neither bother to send a single picture or voice message to each other.
Now, given the danger of catfishing nowadays, we’ve already got a pretty big plot point that needs to be ignored, especially given some of the supporting cast even bring this up too. Anyway, things soon escalate when Alex and Vale actually grow closer at school. Thrown into detention together, they begin sharing projects, which eventually blossoms into a budding friendship – and more.
Now, early on the movie establishes that both of these students are on their phones a lot. Flicking through social media, reading text messages and browsing the internet. They even anonymously message their secret lovers while standing next to one another.
Granted, Alex’s WiFi connection does sporadically drop now and again at home (which somehow affects receiving SMS messages?) but for Vale, there’s not really many excuses. As the movie progresses, the pair meet up numerous times at different hangout spots… but don’t once ask for the other’s number.
Whether it be a night out with camera phones at the ready or heading out to the movies, there’s exactly one instance at the 70 minute mark where Alex mutters to himself about asking for Value’s number… and that’s it.
It completely breaks the immersion and when you realize the entire film hinders on this big misunderstanding without the other even bothering to ask for their number – or a picture from the anonymous source in question! – then the entire movie’s premise crumbles.
It’s a shame too because the two leads actually have some good chemistry together and there’s some pretty nice moments throughout that they share. But all of this rests so precariously on those aforementioned contrivances that it’s hard to get invested in this when the premise is so utterly ludicrous. And it could be resolved so easily too!
Vale could have two phones, with Alex messaging her old phone and posing as the anonymous source there. That way Alex could actually message Vale properly on her new phone, thus setting up some cute interactions.
Or it could be that identical phones get switched at school between two students, hence the wrong number shindig. Any number of creative solutions could have been used here, but instead Anonymously You uses the most unimaginative and annoying solution. And solution is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that sentence.
Anonymously You doesn’t mean to be but it stumbles unintelligently into becoming an incredibly frustrating film to watch. It’s a tired, cliched romcom with a massively flawed story and unbelievable contrivances. Despite some good characters and a couple of nice sequences, Anonymously You is destined to float off into anonymous romcom obscurity.
Verdict - 3.5/10