Will the television, the telephone, the Internet, and the kitchen sink ever fuse into a single, omniscient virtual infotainment box? If so, no movie has envisioned more cannily what that media machine hydra will look like than Thomas in Love. The entire feature unfolds from the fixed point of view of Thomas, a 32 year old agoraphobe who spends all day surfing his candy colored computer screen ”visiophone,” flipping from digital sex pinup to beleaguered Orwellian shrink to nosy mom to fascist escort service to a dating club in which he meets a cuddly alt cherub (Magali Pinglaut) who agrees to have touchy feely cybersex with him.
The Dutch director Pierre Paul Renders ingeniously conjures the image of a control freak society that is sinister in its very playfulness. Renders is less successful elevating Thomas, played by Benôit Berhaert in a variation on Douglas Rain’s all voice performance as HAL in ”2001,” into a human presence we actually care about. The movie, after a while, drifts into an all too literal parable of the limits of never leaving the house.