Like Me

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Like Me Movie Poster Image
Hypnotic experimental movie about millennial malaise.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No clear messages here, but the movie does give teens plenty to talk about in terms of internet fame, posting videos, trolling, being mean or kind, relating to others, etc. Has posting videos online affected the way we see others? How can this change for the better?

Positive Role Models & Representations

No role models here. As captivating as the main character is -- i.e., her apparent freedom to do whatever comes into her head -- she's certainly not someone worth emulating. She steals, kidnaps, and eventually kills. Also, a man cruelly imitates Tourette's syndrome for laughs.

Violence

Guns and shooting, bloody wounds. Tourniquet applied to wounds. A man punches a teen girl in the face; bloody wounds shown. A teen girl chases a teen boy with a baseball bat; he grabs a meat cleaver. Character bashed on the head with a bat, with blood spurting. A man is sliced in the chest with a knife; small, bleeding wound. Disturbing video imagery. Vomiting; a man urinates in his pants. Hateful talk in online videos and comments ("kill yourself," etc.). A young girl plays with a toy gun.

Sex

A girl who claims to be 17 pretends to seduce an older man. She straddles him while wearing a sexy outfit; he's strapped to the bed. Innuendo.

Language

Very strong, frequent language, including "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "c--t," "bitch," "ass," "d--k," "whore," "f--got," and "dildo," plus "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

YouTube isn't mentioned or shown, but videos are designed to look like YouTube uploads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main character (who claims to be 17) smokes cigarettes and takes psychedelic mushrooms. Older character swallows a horse tranquilizer. Both characters said to have sniffed paint from a paper bag (not shown).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Like Me is a semi-experimental movie about a young woman who does seemingly random things in order to post them online. It has unsettling imagery, almost like little art installations within the movie. Violence includes guns and shooting, a knife and cutting, and bashing with a baseball bat; there are blood spurts and bloody wounds. There's cruel, hateful talk (usually from online comments), as well as swearing, including "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," "p---y," and more. The main character and an older man are in a sexual situation (she pretends to seduce him while wearing a sheer outfit), and they take psychedelic mushrooms together. They also appear to have sniffed spray paint from a paper bag. The young woman, who says she's 17, also smokes cigarettes. Without much of a story, the movie may be challenging for many viewers, but it brings up discussion-worthy questions about internet fame, posting videos, trolling, being mean or kind, relating to others, and so on.

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What's the story?

In LIKE ME, Kiya (Addison Timlin) decides to make videos of a series of random acts and post them online. She starts by donning a creepy mask and holding up a convenience store, humiliating the clerk in the process. Then she takes a homeless man out for a meal and tries to get him to tell her a story. Meanwhile, another video blogger, Burt (Ian Nelson), berates Kiya mercilessly. She checks into a hotel with colorfully painted rooms and pretends to seduce the proprietor, Marshall (Larry Fessenden). But she ties him to the bed and forces him to eat junk food until he vomits; she films that and posts the video. She then kidnaps Marshall and takes him on the road. They talk, tell stories, and do drugs. But when Kiya's pet rat escapes, Marshall takes the opportunity to get away, too. Finally, Kiya decides to meet Burt in person and give him a piece of her mind.

Is it any good?

More like experimental cinema than a mainstream movie, this dark, unsettling, somewhat plotless film takes an unusual, colorful, and arty look at millennial narcissism and loneliness. The results are hypnotically compelling. Newcomer writer-director Robert Mockler uses twitchy video pieces -- a second or two of footage jerking back and forth -- throughout Like Me, sprinkling bits of disturbing behavior in between the segments; this makes them seem even more dislocated and less like a story. Occasional oddities, like a campfire turning into a bank of glowing TV monitors, further the strangeness.

It's Timlin who creates the through line. She's bemused, often curious, sometimes unsure, and always compelling, even as Kiya's actions become more and more unhinged. Her unlikely friendship with Marshall (cult horror favorite Fessenden) also provides some emotional pull. In one scene, Kiya nearly shows evidence of her crime to a little girl, simply to make a connection. But in the final scene, Mockler lets the camera linger for a long time on the image of a beach; there's no more video feed, no more artiness ... just some hard reality.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Like Me's violence. Was it thrilling or shocking? Is it gratuitous, or used for a purpose? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What does the movie have to say about media and the internet? Are all the posts, comments, and responses hateful and violent? Why do these things get so much attention?

  • How does the movie depict drugs and smoking? Are they glorified? Do they look cool? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Does Kiya seem too young to engage in sexual behavior? How far does the movie go with its depiction of sex?

  • Does the movie have a story, or is it closer to non-narrative or experimental filmmaking? What's the difference? What is the movie trying to say?

Movie details

For kids who love offbeat movies

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