Parents' Guide to

The American Meme

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Docu about internet celebs has language, nudity, drinking.

Movie NR 2018 98 minutes
The American Meme Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

While well-done and comprehensive, this documentary also feels like kicking down an open door. For anyone, famous or not, who has spent enough time on social media, The American Meme isn't going to tell you anything you haven't already started to figure out yourself. Extreme content and provocative speech and action tend to go viral. There's often a large gap between a person's social media persona and who that person is in real life. The validation people seek on social media is often an attempt to fill the void of loneliness in the real world. The pursuit of fame for its own sake and the cult of celebrity have grown to monstrous proportions. We're only just beginning to understand the long-term impact, good and bad, of social media on individuals and society, and while it does address these issues, The American Meme doesn't really move the discussion forward.

Nonetheless, it's worth watching, especially with those whose screen time eats up a large chunk of their waking hours. The American Meme is a fine place to start the discussion about the good and bad of social media and how we use and consume it. However, it doesn't go deep enough or fully explore all the sides and facets of the arguments, pro and con. It tries to present all the points of view, and as a result, it becomes, much like social media, an endless series of clashing images and voices. Emily Ratajkowski's social media activism, for instance, has to compete with DJ Khaled stuck in a canoe, and with Kirill Bichutsky (aka @slutwhisperer) holding a drunk woman by the ankles and dunking her into a nightclub toilet. But it does raise questions worth asking, even if they're questions we've been asking ourselves for years.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate