When my housemate first mentioned The Social Dilemma as an option for movie night, I was initially quite against it. I had read some reviews and seen the trailer, all of which portrayed the documentary as something that would cause me to be up all night, thinking about how the world is ending (thanks again, brain with an overthinking problem).
As much as I love documentary filmmaking, I also struggle to separate myself from the subject matter – stuff that 90s chick flicks and romantic comedies distract me from. Nevertheless, I gave it a try, as I’ve always been very interested in the mental health effects of social media.
Using the expository mode of documentary, director Jeff Orlowski gathers a group of professionals in the tech industry, most of which have worked at companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
As each interview subject discusses their own experiences in each workplace, they also discuss what they learned – some of this information being incredibly worrisome.
Orlowski also cleverly includes a fictional narrative that allows us to emotionally connect with a family of five, each having their own story connected to online networking.
I empathised most with the youngest member of the family, Isla, who quickly becomes fixated on the likes and comments she receives online. As a young teenager, I also had a difficult time on social media. Cyberbullying continues to be a serious issue for young Australians.
Combining fiction with non-fiction was an interesting choice for the masterminds behind this film, and successfully drove to home the devastating impact social media can have on our mental and physical wellbeing.
Without giving too much away, this is a must-watch for anyone with an interest in privacy breaches, mental health, evolutionary psychology, and politics.
Seen it recently? Let me know what your thoughts are below.