Friended to Death
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Friended to Death is a dark comedy about a man obsessed with social media who fakes his death online to see how many of his "friends" show up to his funeral. Although the movie offers important lessons regarding Internet safety, the frequent strong language -- including variations of words like "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and "douche bag" -- and some crude sexual jokes make the movie a better fit for older teens and up. One character drinks heavily to deal with the loss of his "friend," and there are a couple of references to drug overdoses. The violence is minor (a couple of dramatic punches between characters and a fist fight in the bathroom) and seems cartoonish, though one of the female characters in the movie is tied up in a closet with her mouth taped to prevent her from telling the truth.
What's the story?
Michael Harris (Ryan Hansen) loves two things: giving out parking tickets and using social media. After losing his dream job and his BFF, Joel (Zach McGowan), on the same day, Michael turns to his ex-coworker, Emile Lewis (James Immekus). The two form an unlikely "friendship" when Michael decides to fake his own death in an elaborate online scheme to see how many of his friends actually care about him. As his web of lies begins to unravel, Michael must learn what it truly means to be a friend both online and offline, or, as Michael might say "IRL," in real life.
Is it any good?
In her bro-mantic comedy FRIENDED TO DEATH, director Sarah Smick shows just how easy it is to fall prey to the delusions of "friendships" created via social media. The plot, while rather simple, makes it very clear that Michael is a narcissistic jerk who gets a major reality check that forces him to reevaluate his relationships with others. Teens will understand Michael's "speak in text" acronyms and laugh at the characters' many "bro" nicknames, but the movie's strong language does undercut its ability to showcase messages about friendship and Internet safety in a way that would be age appropriate for tweens and younger teens. Instead of comforting his "bro," But, language issues aside, Smick offers an important reminder to create meaningful friendships instead of isolating yourself in a social media bubble.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Michael's obsession with social media. Do you think social media plays a role in people's self-esteem? What are some ways to make sure the impact isn't a harmful one?
What do you think it means to be a friend in today's society, where "friends" are just a click away?
It's easy to laugh at Michael's obnoxious posts and obsession with being "liked," but it's important to remember to be smart about your online presence. What steps can you take to make sure that you're safe online?