The term sounds very “internet” but actually hyperlink movies do not have any real hyperlinks in them. ‘Hyperlink cinema’ was coined by Alissa Quart in her review of the movie Happy Endings and also used by Roger Ebert in his review of the movie Syriana. Although it isn’t strictly defined, one of the common elements of hyperlink movies are the presence of multiple storylines within one movie that either intertwine with each other, or have a common theme. The presence of multiple stories and plots evokes a feel of multi-tasking for the movie viewer and if done successfully, delivers the movie’s message or theme very effectively.
Wikipedia lists some movies that fall within the definition of hyperlink cinema. I have a couple of favorites myself (see below). In all of the following films, multiple storylines intertwine to tell the grand arc or theme.
A successful hyperlink film manages to evoke the central theme in much the same way critical thinking can interrelate multiple evidence (qualitative in this respect) to support a central argument. This is not to say that filmmaking or hyperlink cinema is strictly meant to be a logical argument or within the bounds of evidence per se–as standards of creativity can vary from person to person (and from viewer to viewer). What I personally find compelling about hyperlink films is that the usage of multiple character plotlines for the film’s grand exposition is akin to the critical thinking process of finding analogs or parallels between multiple concepts or abstracts.
Other than that, I also enjoy watching movies in general anyway.