"The Beauty Inside" is technically a six part internet series, but I believe it works best when watched in one sitting like you would a movie. It only runs about 40 minutes total so it's actually shorter than the average movie and not difficult to watch all at once. "The Beauty Inside" tells a story that brings about many questions involving identity so it is only fitting that the medium in which the story is told has a questionable identity as well. Is it a movie or a series? It's technically cut into six episodes, but when watched all at once, it plays just like a normal movie. It even waits to show the credits until the end of the last episode.
Basically, "The Beauty Inside" is about a guy who wakes up everyday as a different person. Comparisons could be made and have been made to the television series "Quantum Leap" and the novel "Every Day". The stories in those, as well as this, involve the same basic premise of someone turning into someone else everyday. In "The Beauty Inside", things are a little different though. The main character, Alex, does not become a completely different person everyday. Alex always remains the same person on the inside, but he is a different person on the outside. His setting and personality never changes, but his appearance always does. Seeing as he never stays the same person for more than one day, it is hard for him to have any kind of lasting relationship with anyone, but how long can he live like that?
The series has given me lots to think about in terms of how we see ourselves and how others see ourselves and the many different people we can be or pretend to be. I think during different situations we can almost turn into different people. We act certain ways or dress certain ways around certain people. Our way of presenting ourselves at work, for example, might not be the same as we present ourselves outside of work. Sometimes, the way we portray ourselves in general may not be the way we really truly feel we are when we are all alone with no one to see us. Which one is the best representation of who we are? Which one is the most true? Is the way others see us the most important because it is what actually effects things in life or is the way we truly know ourselves to be the most important because it is our own lives that we are living? "The Beauty Inside" doesn't necessarily have easy or clear answers and it may end a little abruptly, but it certainly has got me thinking about important questions regarding identity.
It's also made by Toshiba and Intel so if you feel an uncontrollable urge to buy a Toshiba or Intel product after watching the series then you know why. Fortunately I'm already typing this on a Toshiba laptop so I don't have to worry about purchasing one after seeing one used very prominently in the series. The series is deeper and feels more natural than any ad I have ever seen, however. It doesn't feel like they are trying to sell a product even though they kind of are. Okay, maybe the constant use of a Toshiba laptop is a little much and perhaps the most forced part of the story, but it is also important to the story and actually played a part in the unique way part of the movie was made and cast.
"The Beauty Inside" features lots of footage that is meant to be footage of the main character Alex as seen from his laptop. The footage is actually compiled from footage sent in by anyone who felt like sending some in. This is a cool way of incorporating anyone, even if they are not an actor, to be in the series. It is cool because it gives people who normally may not have been a part of something like this the opportunity to be a part of it, but it is also cool for another reason. By casting anyone at all as the character of Alex, the makers of this series are further delving into the question of identity. I mean, some of these people aren't actors, but then again, maybe they are? What defines who they are? What defines anyone?
Think about how even one action you take can define your identity in another person's mind. When you meet someone for the first time, your first action in front of them is all they have to judge you by. Your identity can be fully formed by them just from one decision that you made. Clearly, the identity formed in that short amount of time can't be totally accurate to your true identity, but does it really matter? The identities that others form for us are generally the ones that shape our lives. Think about a job interview. Job interviews are relatively short and each one is different. Yet, at the end of a job interview, the person interviewing you forms an identity for you. The person thinks they know who you are after this short interview and whether or not you get the job may come down to what this person saw your identity to be in that short amount of time on that specific day.
The way a person sees you can greatly effect your life, but what if it doesn't match with the way you see yourself? That seems to be Alex's problem throughout this series. His physical appearance, the identity that people first give to him, doesn't seem to always match with how he feels inside. Even personality-wise he can't seem to show what he feels to be his true identity to anyone. The people he meets all see different things, as he is a physically different person every day, but they never see the real person inside that is always there. "The Beauty Inside" shows both the great effect that personal appearance can have on other people's perception of us and the lack of importance that it can have for ourselves. What "The Beauty Inside" may be showing is that physical identity doesn't really mean much of anything. After all, no matter how we look on the outside, we are still the same person on the inside. We always have the one identity inside ourselves that remains constant, right? Well, maybe not.
I think that there is not one identity for each human being. We are many different people depending on who you ask. If you asked people to describe the identity of Alex then you would get a different answer depending on what day the person met him. While it would seem at first that this would be due to his physical appearance being different everyday, I think there is more to it than that. People change everyday in many different ways. People learn new things everyday and those things in turn change our identity. The truth is that identity can change for many reasons. A person can get labeled as one thing early on in life, but that doesn't mean they can't become another thing later on. I know that my identity doesn't always feel consistent and that's just in my own head. Other people can see your identity in so many different ways.
Casting anyone at all in the role of Alex proves just how malleable one person's identity really is. You see, depending on the day, Alex could be anyone and the casting here proves that we could be anyone too. However, I believe "The Beauty Inside" shows that we can be many different people, but that it is better to just be ourselves. Each person has many different identities both from how other people see us and how we see ourselves. The important thing is to find the person within ourselves that best represents who we are to ourselves and to share it with the world in the best way that we can. Sure, we could be anybody else, but anybody else already exists, so why deprive the world of ourselves?
Each and every human being on Earth is different. We share common traits, but no identity is exactly the same. So, really, the best way to stand out in the world is to just be yourself. Find the identity within you and share it with the world. I know this can be difficult, sharing your differences, exposing your unique self to others, but there is one more important thing that you must remember.
The identities we have inside ourselves may make us feel like we are all alone sometimes. We may feel like no one sees who we really are inside. We may feel different from everyone else, but we are all united by the fact that we are different. It is what is inside of us that both makes us different and makes us all the same. Isn't that beautiful?
"The Beauty Inside" can currently be found on Vimeo at this link here. Start from episode one and you may be as hooked to the series as I was. There is also a behind the scenes video on the page as well and that can be watched either before or after watching the series itself. "The Beauty Inside" may be an advertisement of sorts, but the thing it really made me want is something that can't be bought: a true sense of identity.