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#DigitalLivesMatter

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
#DigitalLivesMatter Movie Poster Image
Edgy comedy about social media has language, sexual content.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 94 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The idea that social media likes and followers is incredibly important, and your ticket to fame and stardom, is a given. But you have to remember that your followers are people with feelings and you can't go around being mean to people just because you're popular. What you do, say, tweet, or post has an effect on others. You need to take time for the special people in your life. Although there are a couple of strong and positive female characters, women are objectified in a brief screenshot of nude breasts and a man ogling a woman twerking in a spoof of a commercial.

Positive Role Models & Representations

DC starts out vain, thoughtless, and self centered. He's on parole for something unspecified. His online persona glorifies a nightclubbing, partying, celebrity lifestyle. In real life he's just trying to get by, hoping internet fame is his ticket to the easy life. Eventually he learns to empathize with others, respect their feelings, and the satisfaction that comes from helping others. Best friend Theo is a self-styled genius who's a positive African American representation of loyalty and support, as well as for using his talent for computers and gadgets to help others and run a repair business out of his home. Erica is a positive model of an African American woman who's a smart, supportive romantic interest. There's a stereotyped psychotic ex-girlfriend; most other characters are cliches, but not overtly negative, like the scolding grandmother.

Violence

Lots of open-palmed hitting and slapping. One punch in the face. Played for comedy, a man is tied up and forced to get a tattoo. A man fondles a woman's breast and gets slapped. A gun is brandished in a rescue attempt. A woman sprays mace at two would-be muggers.

Sex

A couple of kisses. A brief screen shot of naked breasts. Sex or sexuality is often referred to, like inverted nipples, an old woman's sagging breasts, twerking, making a douche, asking about a threesome, and exaggerated tongue wiggling that implies oral sex. Most soundtrack songs have explicit lyrics about sex. An infomercial spoof shows a real Internet celebrity, Mizz Twerksum, demonstrating twerking and may inspire curious viewers who haven't seen them to look up her videos on YouTube.

Language

DC's catchphrase is "fawwkyoumean," meant to sound like "f--k you mean." Lots of other variations of "f--k." "P---y," "s--t," "ass," "damn," the "N" word, "bitch," "bulls--t," "asshole," "hell," and "piss." Verbal hostility and calling names like "idiot." Lots of profanity in soundtrack lyrics.

Consumerism

The story about Internet fame, social media, and online presence mentions a lot of social media platforms, especially Instagram, and shows a lot of screen shots. No noticeable product placements, but mention of Ben Gay. Knowing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a lot of cachet.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The opening scene in a nightclub shows table service in the VIP area. Past uploads of DC smoking marijuana. DC and Theo share a cigarillo, which some viewers may assume is a blunt (the tobacco is replaced with marijuana). DC tries to pass a surprise drug test by drinking lots of vinegar beforehand. Muggers ask their target about illnesses she may have, implying they hope she has drugs in her purse. A montage briefly shows two hands exchanging something small. A character is shown using an asthma inhaler once.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that #DigitalLivesMatter is an edgy comedy about a young man who learns that his actions, words, and social media posts have consequences, and that his online followers are actual people with feelings that should be taken into account. There are a lot of sexual references, a brief shot of naked breasts, and a demonstration of twerking. There's also a lot of profanity, including "p---y," the "N" word, and lots of variations of "f--k." The importance of having lots of followers, likes, and reposts is never challenged, so it's a good opportunity to talk to kids about their social media presence, how they present themselves, and how online responses affect their self esteem. Smoking marijuana is depicted, and the opening scene shows table service in the VIP area of a nightclub. Violence is mostly open-handed slapping and hitting; once a man fondles a woman's breast and she slaps him, and a gun is brandished in a rescue attempt. Main character DC's friends and his family are positive role models and positive representations of African Americans. DC himself isn't a great role model but learns his lesson and changes.

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What's the story?

#DIGITALLIVESMATTER is about DC (D.C. Young Fly), a young man in Atlanta who enjoys the celebrity lifestyle that comes from having over 3 million followers online. And he's convinced that racking up followers, likes, and reposts is the way to advance his career in comedy and acting. But when a mysterious hacker deletes all his followers, DC will have to do whatever the hacker tells him to do in order to get his followers back. Is he willing to do what it takes?

Is it any good?

There's tons of teen appeal in this edgy, social-media story peppered with strong language and sexual references, and if you accept the premise there's actually a pretty funny movie here. D.C. Young Fly is an engaging screen presence, making him easy to root for in spite of his flaws. And he does eventually learn that yes, #DigitalLivesMatter. The script is witty and populated with hilariously-colorful minor characters like the shake-down pastor and the "Hoober" driver. But the plot is predictable, and some of the secondary characters, like the ex-girlfriends and DC's dad and grandma, are cliched. It's also a bit too long. There's that moment with about 20 minutes left to go and you're more than ready for things to wrap up, already.

It's a good opportunity to talk to your kids about what social media means to them, how they present themselves online, and how the actions and words they post affect other people. Strong language, mature sexual content, and the glorified celebrity lifestyle make it best for older teens and up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how #DigitalLivesMatter treats social media presence. Is it really that important to you? How do you feel when you don't get many likes or reposts? What does having a lot of followers really mean?

  • Compare DC's real life to his online presence. How are they different? What about you? Is how you make yourself look online realistic? What about friends, or even celebrities? Are they showing realistic images of their lives? Does it matter if they are?

  • What about the profanity? Is it realistic? Would that make it OK if it were? Did any words offend you? Which ones, and why?

  • How much sex is OK in movies, videos, games, TV? Does it affect how you think about your own romantic life?

Movie details

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