Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Bill Paxton
Director: James Ponsoldt
There’s been a lot of talk about how bad this film is. I generally don’t go in for films about social media, but a friend of mine said that they actually really liked this film. So I thought, why not?
I can’t decide whether this film is like something that was written by some over eager school children about the dangers of being online, or by a geography teacher who’s afraid of social media and how fast the world is changing. Either way, it’s pretty awful.
What makes it barely watchable is the dialogue, initially. Everyone is so incredibly cheesey and awkward, it’s painful. No one says or does anything naturally, and character motivation is really subject to the needs of the plot and therefore can change on a whim. It’s impossible to watch without cringing.
If you can get past this, then the plot is also pretty lame and preachy. Mae (Watson) gets a job at the leading American social media platform, which is something like a combination of Facebook and Google. Initially psyched to work at a company that’s so forward thinking and takes such good care of it’s employees, it soon seems that there’s something sinister going on. The company wants to place a camera everywhere so that there’s no privacy for any citizen. Mae ends up choosing to be a poster child for this and wears a camera, her life becoming like the Truman Show, which alienates her friends and family. The company policy moves along lines that Secrets Are Lies, that no one should have secrets, and tries to explore those questions. While technology could be used to find criminals and fugitives, it can also be used to control people.
It’s not that these questions are not worth asking or worth exploring, it’s just that they never seem to be well done. Here, it’s just preaching but with very little satisfying conclusion.
See It If: you’re one of those people who don’t get social media and who think Facebook was invented by the Government to control the masses. Not saying it’s not something to think about, but it’s certainly not well-explored here.