Written and directed by Khairil M. Bahar (Ciplak, 15Malaysia), Relationship Status is a film that could have only been written in the 21st century.
Based on the numerous options available on sites such as Facebook, Relationship Status tells the story of a number of KL-ites from all walks of life whose relationships are created, changed and sometimes even ruined by social networking and the way we communicate in this day and age.
Some of the stories in Relationship Status may make you laugh whilst some may make you cry. What is for certain, though, is that all the stories will ring true. In fact, most if not all of the stories in Relationship Status are based on actual events that have happened and could have only happened in the 21st century with the popularity of social networking sites.
Just like Malaysia, the country in which the stories in Relationship Status are situated, the film is multi-ethnic and multi-lingual. Some of the characters speak English, some speak Malay, some speak Hokkien. The stories in Relationship Status feature people from all walks of life and of all ages – from students in puppy love and young professionals in blossoming relationships to those that are married and even widowed. But regardless of how different all these characters are, by the end of the movie all their relationships will be directly affected due to social networks.
Some for better, and some for worse.
From Friendster to MySpace and now Facebook, social networking has evolved into something that has become a part of our lives, as natural a communication tool as the telephone, and a true product of the 21st century.
And I can’t help but notice that all the relationships I’ve had over the past four years, whether it’s how I got into the relationship or how the relationship ended, have all somehow been directly related to Facebook.
I have met people and flirted through Facebook and I’ve had my heart broken and even lost someone because of Facebook. And the more I researched and spoke to others, the more I realized I’m not the only one who’s experienced this. This year a report came out that 20% of all divorce cases in the US cite evidence found on Facebook as grounds for the dissolution of marriage.
Even the idea of stating one’s relationship status, displaying it to the world, is a relatively new concept. Going through the different relationship status’ available on Facebook I found myself curious as to who would advertise themselves as ‘divorced’ or ‘widowed’ – what would be one’s motivation to share something that only a few years ago you’d keep to yourself unless asked? And I found it curious that for those in the early days of a relationship the question of when you change your status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ has taken importance when, in all honesty, does it even matter?
Some of the stories in Relationship Status are based on true stories. Some were entirely made up, but after passing the script around I met people who experienced what the characters in the script had gone through. Social networks have changed how relationships are experienced, for better or for worse, and from this new discovery new stories of relationships have emerged, new stories that people can relate to.