Movie Review: #Like (2019)

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For Now She Dances: Part Two 


Written and directed by women, two feature filmmaking debuts centered on female vigilante badassery were released this week. Involving not only the same jumping off point of a world  — in both, upstate New York — where men who wrong women go unpunished but similar themes as well, the two cathartic films allow us to live vicariously through their anti-heroines as they scream, dance, and fight their way back to life with various levels of success.  Come along on their journey and click here to read the review of A Vigilante.

#Like Review:

Rosie has a plan. She's "gonna find that dick" who cyber stalked her talented kid sister into taking her own life and Rosie's "gonna make him pay." But for now she dances, flailing about — burning off flickers of rage — to psych herself up.

Having broken into her sister Amelia's Facebook account, Rosie (brilliantly played by Sarah Rich) unblocks all of Amelia's contacts and starts dutifully recording the evidence by gathering screenshots.

Tracking down one potential lead whose alarming messages imply that he's a local, the high school cheerleader follows him across her sister's accounts until it creeps her out enough that she puts a sticker over her webcam, and lets her sister's YouTube videos put her to sleep.

When the police burst her bubble with the realization that they have little jurisdiction in the legal wild west of cyberspace and that the perp would basically have to walk into the station and confess, Rosie goes into detective mode.

Traveling home from the Woodstock, New York police station, she immediately stumbles upon, and begins pursuing a suspect in one of the film's early plausibility missteps.

Targeting a general contractor (well played by Marc Menchaca) whose language and interests seem to fit the online stalker's personality and profile to a T, Rosie lays a trap for the man while her mom's out of town.

Later, she tells it to him straight: "I'm going to f**k with you." And that she does but she gets more than she bargained for when the man starts talking and she's filled with confusion as well as doubt.

A great set up all around with a pitch perfect name for its subject as well as its marketing campaign, #Like is the type of film that I gravitated to as a young screenwriter early on and doubly so after running away (at age twelve) from two men in a truck.

In fact, one of my first scripts chronicled twenty-four crazy hours in a teenage girl's life after she kidnapped a man to stop him from kidnapping a child. And intriguingly, #Like suffers from the exact same problems that my thematically similar work did. By kicking things off with such an intense first act and a half, anything after — unless just as epically plotted — feels like a letdown.

While #Like manages to deliver a few unexpected twists (which run the gamut of credibility), unfortunately, and just like the other female vigilante movie released this week, the film loses its focus considerably as things continue on.

Still a far better genre centric offering overall than the aforementioned experimental character driven effort, A Vigilante, with a woman writing for and about women once again, it's no surprise that #Like offers a stellar showcase for its young leading lady (newcomer Sarah Rich).

A strong feature filmmaking debut for award-winning writer-director-producer Sarah Pirozek, in spite of #Like's stumbles, the film makes you mighty curious to see what she will do next.

Bolstered by an instantly relatable premise that — as a woman both online and in the real world — definitely hits home, #Like ends on a note of pitch perfect unease that you'll immediately want to discuss with a friend. Needless to say, just like with Rosie and her music, Pirozek's film appeals to our justified anger, and (much like recharging a battery) easily psychs us up.

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