Written by: Hannah Tran | March 3rd, 2020
The Social Ones (Laura Kosann, 2019) 1 out of 4 stars.
It would seem obvious that one of the central tenets of creating a successful satire would be to build upon an idea rooted enough in reality so that the average viewer may be able to understand what part of reality you’re ridiculing. In the instance of Laura Kosann’s The Social Ones, which not only bills itself as a “social media satire,” but a “comedy,” it turns out that such is not the case. Instead, The Social Ones, which centers around the organization of a photo-shoot featuring that world’s most popular online influencers, is overdetermined to present a vision of social-media hellscape that distinctly feels as if it was concocted during social media’s more nascent years by someone much, much more out of touch than millennial-aged Kosann.
Perhaps the issue is that Kosann, who is credited as a triple-threat of director, writer, and actor for this project, should have diverted a little more attention to research. This screenplay not only feels as if it’s misunderstanding the world that it’s criticizing, it feels as though it vehemently hates that world and all the subjects that come along with it. Kosann is unable to write a single likeable character. The performances match this vision with shallow theatrics straight out of a high-school drama class.
The equally histrionic narrative, moreover, never succeeds in its vain attempts to glean meaning from the social-media sphere because it has no intention of ever understanding the social-media sphere, mostly making me question who this film could possibly be made for. While it produces a wishy-washy message of living in the real world directed at those a little too plugged in to their devices, it certainly isn’t catering to them.
It’s difficult to say howThe Social Ones fits into our current information-riddled culture. It’s a comedy that isn’t all that funny; it’s a satire that isn’t all that biting; it’s a social-media movie that isn’t all that much about social media. Most of all, however, it’s a film that is just as vain and vapid as those it criticizes. If you’re interested in watching something that offers any meaningful commentary on social media culture, I’m almost certain that Matt Spicer’s Ingrid Goes West, from a couple of years back, will still hold up more than this.