Anna was a young girl with a crush. For years, she had harbored feelings for a man named Henry. What’s more, her wildest dreams were about to come true, because Henry had finally asked her out on a date.
With so much riding on the rendezvous, Anna hoped everything would go to plan. Firstly, then, she wanted to make sure she looked the part. So, she spent ages rifling through her wardrobe to find the most flattering outfit.
However, try as Anna might, nothing seemed to fit, so she began to panic. And to make matters even worse, Henry called to move their date forward by an hour and a half. Anna therefore rushed into the bathroom to carry out her beauty routine.
Once there, she looked into the mirror and started applying lotion from a tub labeled “Magic Cream.” However, as she did so she noticed a zit on her nose. At this point, Anna was certain that her hot date was going to be a disaster, so she began to sob and buried her head in her hands.
Yet as she removed her fingers from her forehead, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. There, all across her head, were a series of strange holes in her flesh. Anna was horrified, but all was not as it seemed.
In actual fact, Anna is a character in a short film. Both she and Henry were created by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Sandy Widyanata. That said, while the characters’ story may not be real, its message is still an important one.
After noticing the holes in her head, Anna began to panic. She tried to rub the marks off her skin, and amazingly, she succeeded. At that point, she realized that her skin had taken on a clay-like quality, meaning that she could now manipulate it into any shape she desired.
At first, Anna found her bizarre new gift hilarious. She even fashioned herself a long, curly nose before bursting into laughter at the sight of her reflection in the mirror. However, she soon realized that she now had the ability to look however she wished.
So, taking inspiration from a beauty magazine, Anna set about modelling herself into what she believed was a beautiful woman. She stretched out her forehead and fiddled with her chin. Then she widened her big blue eyes until they were freakish in size.
Not content with these crazy modifications, Anna also pulled out her cheekbones and manipulated her mouth into a massive pout. Next, she lengthened her neck to improbable proportions, and at this point it was safe to say that the young woman no longer resembled herself.
Then, Anna turned her attention to her body. She pulled at her legs to make herself taller before enlarging her breasts and tightening her waist. In one easy movement, she made herself taller, slimmer and more curvaceous.
Anna continued with her alterations until a big smile emerged on her face. And at that moment, the doorbell rang. Much to her delight, it was Henry. However, as she gazed into the mirror at her new doll-like appearance, Anna seemed to be having doubts.
She looked around at the images of her old self and realized that she no longer resembled that person. Anna had always dreamed of looking like one of the girls in her magazines. But now that that dream had come true, it didn’t feel right.
As Anna pondered what to do, poor Henry grew impatient in the corridor. Yet just as he was about to leave, his date appeared at the door – and her beauty bowled him over. “You look great,” he told her.
When the camera turned to Anna, she did indeed look lovely. Gone was her freakish manipulated body, replaced instead by her natural form. In fact, it was probably safe to say that she may never have looked better.
So what of the story behind this story? Well, filmmaker Widyanata originally hails from Australia. Her background lies in special effects and animation. Hence, she has often combined surreal visuals with realistic performances to give her films an almost dream-like quality.
According to Widyanata’s website, her film about Anna aimed to shine a light on our modern-day obsession with body image. Named Plastic, it has certainly drawn in viewers. On YouTube alone, many thousands of people have watched the short film.
Furthermore, the film has enjoyed widespread critical acclaim. Indeed, Plastic has already seen Widyanata win prizes at the Australian Effects & Animation Festival and the In The Bin Festival. She also received an award from the Visual Effects Society which was presented by legendary director Steven Spielberg.
And Plastic has also resonated strongly with the general public. “My wife and daughter both have self-esteem issues,” read one comment on Widyanata’s Vimeo channel. “After watching your video they smiled and hugged each other and cried and told each other how beautiful the other was.”
So, although many of us will continue to grapple with issues relating to our body images, films such as Plastic are a step in the right direction. Perhaps, just like Anna, we could all learn to love ourselves a little bit more. After all, we are all beautiful in our own unique ways.