You know you're living inside a dystopian movie plotline when you can't even go to the cinema and watch one. Large gathering places like cinemas have been taking steps to limit crowds, or are suspending services entirely to combat the spread of COVID-19, an outbreak of the coronavirus. This is all in an effort to keep people inside and practicing social distancing, but being alone inside doesn't mean you and your friends can't watch a movie together. I'll explain.
We're "lucky" this pandemic is happening in 2020 because we have almost unlimited options for how to digitally still go about our daily lives. Many people can do their jobs from home, FaceTime family members, and thanks to apps like Netflix Party, watch Netflix together. It's just like going to the movies, with an undercurrent of existential dread.
"Waiting up for friends to make their tea, or finish up a call, so we can all sync up and watch together adds a sense of community that we’re all missing right now, even after just a few days," Noah, 27, who enjoyed both Magnolia and Everybody's Everything thanks to Netflix Party over the weekend, told Refinery29 in a text. "It’s comforting to feel that your boys are right there with you, alone, also."
With Netflix Party, you can create a digital chatroom for a movie, so you and your friends can stream the same thing at the same time and keep running commentary on the side. As long as all participants have downloaded the Google Chrome extension, one person can give themselves control of the room and send out invite links.
While you're enjoying, say, The First Wives Club (me and my friends' movie of choice), everyone in the room can chat back and forth in the sidebar of the screen. In fact, it's even better than being at the movies together, because nobody behind you is shushing your important jokes about haircuts.
Word of the extension is getting passed around the internet as people search for connection during this bizarre time.
"It felt stronger and more potent than a group chat because we were all sharing the same exact visual experience," Manny, 28 and one of Noah's aforementioned "boys," added.
Netflix Party isn't your only option, especially if you're not a Chrome fan. Twoseven has Netflix capabilities and is also browser-based in addition to having a Chrome extension, so the Safari-lovers among us aren't left out. We may be alone in our houses, but we're all in this Netflix party together.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.