#Like

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
#Like Movie Poster Image
Intense thriller about cyberbullying has violence, language.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Explores issues of cyberbullying, cyberstalking, bullying, mental illness, suicide, the objectification of teen and tween girls, and vigilante justice. The film takes a strong feminist stance, and should inspire discussion about all of these issues

Positive Role Models

 Lead character drugs the man she believes cyberstalked her sister and drove her to suicide, then takes him prisoner and tortures him in a variety of sadistic methods. Teens drink, smoke marijuana, take pills. Teen boys make lewd gestures, and a teen boy attempts to rape a teen girl. Adult authority figures are clueless and nonexistent.

Violence

A teen girl drugs and then takes prisoner the man who she believes cyberstalked her sister until she committed suicide. She chains him to a beam in an old bomb shelter and takes pictures of him with a female sex toy in his mouth, threatens to shove a female sex toy up his anus if he doesn't confess to his sins, spikes his food with laxatives, and leaves him to the point of near-death. Attempted rape. Attempted suicide. The lead character is mourning the one-year anniversary of the suicide of her younger sister, who flashed her breasts to a cyberstalker, who sent the picture to all of her classmates in school. Teen girls watch a YouTube video in which college men chant "No means yes" over and over again.

Sex

While looking through a box of books, a teen girl finds a pornographic magazine. A teen boy makes an oral sex gesture at a teen girl. Creepy sexual innuendo from online predators of teen and tween girls. Sex toys are shown.

Language

Frequent profanity. "F--k" often used. Also: "bulls--t," "s--t," "p---y," "bitches," "slut," "hella." Middle finger gesture.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink, smoke marijuana, abuse prescription pills. Lead character spikes a beer in order to render unconscious the man who she believes cyberstalked her younger sister. Lead character binge drinks whiskey in one scene. Drunk teen boy attempts to rape a teen girl. Cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that #Like is a 2019 drama-thriller in which a teen girl seeks to avenge her younger sister's suicide by finding and taking prisoner the man she believed was her cyberstalker. The movie takes a strong feminist stance, and explores issues such as cyberbullying, cyberstalking, bullying, mental illness, suicide, the objectification of teen and tween girls, and vigilante justice, among other topics. The lead character's tween younger sister hung herself in her bedroom closet after a cyberstalker convinced her to take a picture of her flashing her breasts; the cyberstalker then sent the photo to all of her classmates in school. The classmates then bullied her and called her a "slut," and teachers and administrators did nothing about it -- one teacher even played along and made a joke in front of the class about her. The lead character tracks down who she believes was her younger sister's cyberstalker, and then lures him into an old bomb shelter at her house, drugs a beer she offers him, then chains him to a load bearing beam in the shelter. She takes pictures of him with a sex toy in his mouth, drugs his food with a laxative, and leaves him to suffer until he confesses to the crimes she believes he has committed. In addition, there's an attempted rape scene. Teens smoke marijuana, abuse prescription pills, and binge drink. Frequent profanity, including "f--k," and creepy sexual innuendo in chat rooms where tween girls making short movies for their "fans." This is a powerful and intense movie, and should inspire discussion among older teens and parents about the topics mentioned above.

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What's the story?

In #LIKE, Rosie Danvers (Sarah Rich) seems to be a happy teenager -- a cheerleader with good friends and an active social life. But at home, her father is long gone, her mother struggles with depression, and it was one year ago when her younger sister Amelia hung herself in her closet after a cyberstalker sent a picture in which she flashed her breasts to all of her classmates, who bullied and tormented her into taking her own life. On the one-year anniversary of her sister's death, Rosie visits Amelia's social media, and becomes even more determined to discover the identity of the cyberstalker who did this and bring him to justice. However, the police and the laws on the books are no help. Frustrated and angry, Rosie eventually figures out Amelia's old password, logs onto her social media, and immediately receives a message from the cyberstalker. She tries to track down his IP address and identity, but to no avail, and so all she has to go on is a vague location as to where he lives, his taste in music, and a catchphrase he says online. Later, while outside a convenience store, Rosie overhears a man (Marc Menchaca) using the catchphrase who pulls into the parking blasting the kind of music the cyberstalker likes. She follows him to a park, where it looks like he's taking pictures of kids with his phone. Convinced that this is the man who drove her younger sister to suicide, Rosie hatches an elaborate plot to get even, a plot that involves taking the man hostage and degrading him physically and psychologically until he confesses to his crimes. As her plan unfolds and Rosie sees the depths she's willing to go to get even, she must also confront the fact that she isn't 100% certain that the man she has taken hostage is the cyberstalker in question. 

Is it any good?

There are some movies that are so unsettling and provocative, it's a foregone conclusion that they'll haunt one's thoughts for the weeks and months to come. #Like is one of those movies. It's a kind of cybervigilante revenge fantasy that explores the same murky gray morality explored in Dostoevski's Crime and Punishment, and like Roskolnikov, we see Rosie's descent into fevered madness precipitated by her increasing awareness that her taking on the roles of judge, jury, and executioner isn't as clear-cut as she had initially thought, even in a patriarchal society as flawed as the one conveyed in the movie. It's an unflinching look at the ravages of cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and real-life bullying, and the degree to which no one is innocent (in all senses of that word), and nearly everyone is complicit.

The acting is extraordinary, across the board. The teens come across as actual teens, in all of their hubris, innocence, cruelty, and innate hyper-awareness and skepticism of the adult world around them. As "The Man" who is taken prisoner, Marc Menchaca reveals just enough to present a character who might be creepy enough to be the actual cyberstalker responsible for the suicide of Rosie's younger sister, but gradually reveals a third dimension to the character that may suggest otherwise as more information is revealed. Not all of it works, and some parts of the story come across as shoehorned in to drive home the bigger messages the movie is trying to communicate, but overall, this is an unforgettable movie that should inspire deep reflection and discussion. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the topics addressed in #Like. Do you think the movie accurately reflected contemporary realities for tweens and teens -- on the internet, at school, and at home? Why or why not?

  • What are your thoughts on Rosie's actions and the consequences of these actions?

  • What are some of the ways in which the movie takes a strong feminist perspective?

Movie details

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