Capturing Loneliness Like Spike Jonze

Four ways the director depicts emotional isolation.
By  · Published on May 12th, 2017

Four ways the director depicts emotional isolation.

Loneliness can be a difficult thing to capture, visually speaking. Sure, there’s the very literal interpretation of showing a character physically alone in some sort of landscape, intimate or common, but that’s easy and it doesn’t truly capture the emotional aspect of loneliness, it just represents it. No, if you want to capture loneliness, if you want to convey it so your audience doesn’t just recognize it, they feel it, then you have to get a little more innovative.

Take Spike Jonze. Over the course of his filmography, he’s captured all sorts of lonely characters, from the dueling loneliness of Craig and Lottie Schwartz in Being John Malkovich to the self-imposed loneliness of Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation to, of course, the socially-isolated loneliness of Theodore in Her.

In the following video from StudioBinder the way Jonze captures loneliness has been broken down into four facets: get up-close and personal, go wide, montage like crazy, and turn off the gimmicks. Naturally, the video explains each of these in greater detail, so stop reading and start watching below.

Related Topics:

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist