The Girl Allergic to WiFi

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
The Girl Allergic to WiFi Movie Poster Image
Cursing, mature themes, drinking in so-so Filipino romance.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 110 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Some talk of what teens can do for fun, and how they can communicate with each other without smartphones and the internet. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

A character runs a stoplight and the vehicle is struck in the side; the person dies. 

Sex

A "mean girl"-type student spreads rumors that the lead character left school because she's pregnant. References to abortion and "baby killers."

Language

One of the lead characters has a sticker on her smartphone that reads, "F--k off." "F--k" used a few times, including an instance when a high school basketball coach asks one of the players on his team, "What the f--k is wrong with you?" "Bulls--t," "ass."

Consumerism

Instagram is the social media platform of choice with these characters; it's shown and discussed the most. References to Tinder and Grindr. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the lead teen characters tries to deal with his problems by drinking whiskey in a bar until he vomits. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Girl Allergic to WiFi (aka Ang Babseng allergic sa wifi) is a 2018 Filipino romance in which a popular teen girl struggles to begin a new, smartphone-free life. The movie is in a mix of Filipino (with English subtitles) and English, but the movie's subtitles at times say "hell" when the character is verbally saying "f--k." A basketball coach asks a player, "What the f--k do you think you're doing?" Other language includes "bulls--t" and "ass." Some bullying: A mean girl spreads rumors that the lead character left school because she's pregnant; the lead character and her friends counter by hacking the mean girl's Instagram account and posting a photograph of the lead character and her male friend dressed as the mean girl standing in front of a pretend baby grave. The "post" talks about how the mean girl encouraged the lead character to get an abortion, which leads to the mean girl's clique turning on her and calling her a "baby killer." One of the lead characters dies suddenly in a car accident. One of the lead teen characters tries to deal with his problems by getting drunk on whiskey in a bar, which leads to him vomiting at the bar and needing to be carried out by his friends. 

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What's the story?

In THE GIRL ALLERGIC TO WIFI, Norma is a popular teen in her school. She's admired from afar by the bookish Aries, but ends up dating Aries' jock brother Leo. But Norma's life takes a turn when she starts getting bloody noses for no apparent reason, soon followed by skin rashes. While doctors are unable to determine the cause, Aries, after conducting research on the internet, comes to the conclusion that Norma is suffering from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, or an allergy to WiFi networks. Norma's only chance to be healthy is to move out to the countryside with her grandmother, who lives in an internet "dead zone" and still owns things like typewriters and tape recorders. While Aries and his tomboy friend Maela make the hours-long journey to see Norma all the time, Leo begins making excuses for not seeing her. Meanwhile, Aries grows more and more in love with Norma, but it might be too late by the time Norma realizes the eternal love that could exist between her and Aries. 

Is it any good?

While certainly timely, this film gets too sucked into all the melodramatic cliches of romantic movies to really take full advantage of the premise. In other words, Norma (the titular "Girl Allergic to WiFi ") having to choose between the jock brother or the nerd brother takes on increasingly more significance than her getting a bloody nose any time she has WiFi service on her smartphone. Indeed, despite scenes of 21st century teens "roughing it" by resorting to now-Luddite forms of communication such as tape recorders, typewriters, and landline phones, it feels like an opportunity to really address the over-reliance on smartphones and social media gets overshadowed by a cliched storyline and stock teen romcom characters. 

The story itself is generic and straight out of the '80s. There are scenes where Aries, the aforementioned "nerd teen," might as well cut to the chase and channel his inner Andrew McCarthy and emotively wail, "I love her, maaaan!" to Leo, his aforementioned "jock teen" brother. And Aries' tomboy best friend might as well go by "Ducky." Furthermore, the movie's final leg of the journey to reach the theme of "eternal love" comes off as hamfisted and manipulative. The result is a movie that could have and should have been so much more than it actually turns out to be. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about smartphone use. What do the lead characters do for fun and to stay in touch once it's discovered that the lead character is allergic to WiFi? Do you think this movie addresses some of the issues of excessive smartphone and social media use? 

  • How does The Girl Allergic to WiFi compare to other teen romances you've seen?

  • How does the movie present issues such as abortion, teen bullying, drinking?

Movie details

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