In the USA, the FBI reports that ‘Sextortion’ is currently the single largest growing threat to children on the internet, with only five states having made it a felony. In #Like, writer/director Sarah Pirozek gives us a look at one girl’s grief as she tries to come to terms with her sister’s suicide, and the unleashing of her pent up rage.
#Like picks up the story a year on from the tragic death of a young girl called Amelia (Samantha Nicole Dunn). Her sister Rosie (Sarah Rich), along with their mother, are both still trying to come to terms with their loss. Rosie often spends the evenings in her bedroom, watching old YouTube videos posted by Amelia and browsing the many teen networking platforms she used to frequent. Rosie has a folder on her computer named ‘Evidence’ and is saving anything that she spots on her sister’s accounts that could be classed as predatory or bullying. Amelia was driven to suicide by this kind of behaviour online and with the authorities refusing to get involved in her death, Rosie is desperate to do what she can for justice.
As she calls up the various posts from other young teens across the different platforms, it’s terrifying to see what is being shared by them for the world to see, and how easy it is for predators to track, follow and communicate with the girls behind them. Rosie identifies a particular user who has been following a specific set of hashtags, making contact with girls whenever a new video post from them goes online and she begins gathering clues from the minimal information he gives away about himself when commenting. She picks up on certain phrases that he regularly uses and then, later on when a man on the phone walks past her at a local garage, he’s using those exact same phrases. He is also playing the kind of loud heavy rock he talks about in his posts and it’s all enough for Rosie to be deadly sure she’s found her man.
The man in question is played by Marc Menchaca, somebody who I’ve already seen playing a very dodgy person twice already this year. And he’s damn good at it too, so I was more than ready for another round of that. Rosie follows the man around for a while, although I’m not quite sure how she managed to avoid raising his suspicions all the time she’s frantically cycling behind his truck on pretty empty roads. However, what she sees of him is enough to convince her that he’s the one. So while her mum is away for work for a few days, Rosie sets a trap for him. After luring the man to her house, she drugs him and chains him up down in an old shelter, before unleashing her rage in an attempt to break him down enough that he might confess to what he has supposedly done.
I was fully onboard with #Like for the first hour or so. We’ve all heard the terrifying stories of teens being exploited and bullied online and spending so much time with Rosie early on in the movie as she tries to deal with her grief while browsing through so many sites, posts and comments to try and find answers is extremely thought-provoking and well handled. You can’t help but feel the grief and anger right along with her. And then, when she does turn all of that round into action, and the majority of following scenes are just her interrogating and making the man suffer, it’s pretty intense stuff. And that’s all down to some great performances from Sarah Rich and Marc Menchaca.
Unfortunately though, it kind of all falls apart in the final third. There’s a nice potential twist, which doesn’t really pan out as well as it should have, and the whole thing just fizzles out without tying up all the loose ends and providing us with a satisfactory resolution. It’s a real shame that after such an interesting setup, it just left me wondering what the point of it all was.
#LIKE will be available to rent & buy on digital from 1st November
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Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.