Snap opens with a montage of photos from Pueng’s (Waruntorn Paonil) Instagram account. They show a young, vibrant life, the beautiful Peung and her manicured social media presence, complete with witty comments and hashtags. But, we soon see that her reality, while not being ugly, is perhaps a little more mundane. She is sharing a meal with her boyfriend Mann, a slightly older, attractive companion, when notices a photographer outside their Bangkok cafe. Mann asks if she recognises him, but Peung says no. But, when the photographer comes inside, they meet and he turns out to be Boyd (Toni Rakkaen) an old school acquaintance.
Peng had grown up in Chanthaburi, the daughter of a military Colonel. But in her final year school, because of political unrest, her family suddenly moved to Bangkok and she had to change schools. Now, with the threat of martial law again in the air, she has been invited to a pair of school friend’s wedding back in Chanthaburi, a homecoming and school reunion of sorts, with the enigmatic Boyd acting as the wedding’s photographer.
Written and directed by Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, is a beautifully stylish and engaging romantic tale, full of comedy and drama. The social critique, of the shadow of Thailand’s military rule, of the challenges for smaller towns as the youth leave for big cities and of how dependent people have become on social media are all well drawn but also light enough not to get in the way of the story of Pueng and Boyd. The result is a charming, well-structured and touching film that elegantly fills its 97 minutes.
What Snap does better than any other film I’ve seen so far is capture the way the rush to share our lives on social media, is something far deeper than just narcissism or a quest to gain short term popularity. It’s actually a battle against forgetting, against losing the vibrancy that makes moments like falling in love so special. As we get older, we know as soon as we experience something we begin to forget it, or worse, we begin to drown it in nostalgia. Snap is an earnest film for a generation who understand this in a way that is perhaps different to any generation before them, even as they face the same kinds of challenges growing up, finding a career, and building a life in the face of challenges they have little, if any control over.