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Movie Reviews

‘The Emoji Story’ review: Documentary about the impact and importance of picture characters

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The Emoji Story is a documentary that is not to be confused with the similarly titled and objectively awful animated film, The Emoji Movie. The documentary is a film that looks into the history and impact of the picture characters. Doing so, also gives some insight into social customs. It is a creative watch that showcases an innocuous creation that has become a part of everyday life.

It seems like there would not be much to say in the documentary. How much can be discussed about a group of symbols whose meanings remain mysterious to most users? As it turns out, The Emoji Story is a very interesting look at the picture characters. From the get go, the film shows the influence of emojis with a cute opening that is familiar to anyone who has ever been to a movie theater.

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The Emoji Story also gives a brief history of the symbols. In a nice touch, emojis are not looked at as just shorthand people used when texting or sending emails. Instead, they are treated as a new form of language. This adds a gravity to the film without taking away from its whimsical tone. This includes an interview with a linguist who weighs in on how emojis will affect the future of communication.

There are some interesting interviews in the documentary that center around how new emojis are entered into the official lexicon. This includes a story about how a teenage girl who requested a hijab emoji to represent her and a group who wanted a menstruation emoji. There is also some short bits on what emojis have been rejected. It is fun to see the ideas people have. 

The Emoji Story also discusses whether there are too many of the characters around. Everyone interviewed dismissed the idea emojis will replace actual verbal interaction. After all, people have spoken through pictures forever. Besides, how can anyone discuss a free trade agreement through emojis, anyway? But as one person says, there is an emoji for people with beards and another for people with white hair; do you really need an emoji for people with white hair and beards?

Overall, the documentary is a fun look at the importance of emojis. With all the constant changes in technology, it is easy to overlook some things – including something as regularly used as emojis. The Emoji Story is an overview of picture characters and what they mean in today’s world. It also conveys the spirit of happiness that emojis are supposed to have.

The Emoji Story comes to digital platforms December 22

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