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10 Best Films That Tackle Toxic Influencer Culture – Screen Rant

In this digital age, social media and influencer culture are easily glorified, but these films reveal just how toxic they really are.
Movies like Hulu's recent film, Not Okay, touch upon people's desire to become instantly famous with thousands of followers, but also the consequences that come with it. In an age where almost everything and everyone is online, it is too easy to get caught up in social media culture and the perfect influencer image.
From a social experiment documentary on how popularity can be bought to a character so desperate for greatness she's willing to commit crimes and go to jail, these movies highlight how truly toxic social media fame can be.
The Social Ones is a mockumentary about a magazine pulling together the five biggest social media celebrities together for its annual cover shoot. They follow the lives of "The Snapchat Teenybopper," "The Fashion Blogger," "The Viral Food Vlogger," "The Meme God," and "The One Who Dresses Animals Up."
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This film pokes fun at social media influencers in a hilarious way, but it also brings to light the toll it takes on their mental health. It's not easy for celebrities to keep up their lifestyle, and it's all too often fans forget that.
Not Okay is a new movie on Hulu following Danni Sanders, who fakes a trip to Paris on Instagram and gets caught in the lie when there is a terrorist bombing attack in the city, making her go viral on social media. Eventually, her lies start to catch up to her, and Danni's carefully crafted world crashes down.
This movie touches on important themes like cancel culture and how what is shown on social media is not always what it seems, which is much needed for audiences in the age of the Internet to keep in mind.
Nerve, starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, is a movie from 2016 about the popular online dare game Nerve where people can sign up as "players" or "watchers". As players in the game progress, they get challenged to more and more dangerous dares.
This film does a great way of showing how simple forms of social media that seem harmless, like Nerve, can take a turn for the worse. At the end of the movie, it shows just how easily the characters' fame, money, and fans can be taken away.
Ingrid Goes West is a film following Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid Thorburn, a woman obsessed with social media who moves to California to befriend social media influencer Taylor Sloane after stalking her on Instagram. As she navigates the world of fame, Ingrid realizes that not everything is how she imagined it to be.
Ingrid Goes West touches on a lot of important themes, but one of the main ones is how fame and notoriety cannot solve people's problems in life. It also discusses how influencers' seemingly "perfect" lives on social media are not real.
Fake Famous is a documentary of a social experiment where three people attempt to become social media celebrities by faking their fame – buying followers, likes, and comments and portraying a luxurious lifestyle.
Related: 10 Best Social Experiment Reality TV Shows
This film does a great job of pulling back the curtains on social media fame and shows what is really behind the scenes of these Instagram accounts. It describes both the physical and mental toll it takes on people to uphold these fake personas just to appease their followers or seem perfect when they're really not.
Mainstream stars Maya Hawke and Andrew Garfield in a movie where the two rise to stardom by making YouTube videos mocking social media influencers. They eventually become insanely popular with thousands of fans, but their fame makes their lives take a turn for the worse.
Andrew Garfield's performance as the manic and unstable Link is both horrifying and mesmerizing. Viewers can't take their eyes away from Link's monologues on the toxicity of social media and the shallowness of celebrities, which ironically is what skyrockets him to fame.
This Netflix comedy movie is a take on the typical story of a character who becomes friends with the most popular girl in school, only to realize that it's not the world she wants to live in.
In #RealityHigh, Alexa Medina is the school's celebrity, who has millions of followers on social media and posts videos talking about her life using the hashtag "#realityhigh." Although the plot is not particularly original, it features important commentary on how people can be easily swayed by popularity and lose their sense of self.
Infamous follows Bella Thorne as Arielle and Jake Manley as Dean, her boyfriend. The two live stream their robberies and post them on social media, which makes them gain millions of followers and become famous.
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In the movie, Arielle is willing to do anything for fame, even becoming a criminal and committing both robbery and murder. Arielle's desperation is chilling, as it is a product of toxic social media culture where people accept doing bad things and being an awful person just for a tiny glimpse of glory.
Sweat is a Polish-Swedish film from director Magnus von Horn. It stars Magdalena Kolesnik as Sylvia Zajac, a fitness influencer with thousands of followers and features in news channels and magazines. But, her life is not as perfect as it seems as the film displays what goes on behind the scenes of her social media presence.
This movie does a great job of showing the pressure influencers feel from their fans to uphold their image and maintain their exhausting lifestyle. It reveals how truly toxic social media culture really is.
The American Meme is a Netflix documentary that explores the life of social media influencers Paris Hilton, Emily Ratajkowski, DJ Khaled, and Josh Ostrovsky. It describes how these celebrities rose to fame and gained wealth and notoriety.
Each one of these people reveals how difficult it was for them to be this perfect figure on social media with essentially no privacy. This insightful documentary helps viewers understand that being a celebrity is not as glamorous as it seems and requires some sacrifices, which is especially important in a digital age.
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Claire Zhu is a List writer for ScreenRant. She has loved reading and writing ever since she was a child, and her obsession with movies and TV shows stemmed from family movie nights together. She is currently a full-time student and spends way too much time on her computer, taking any free moment she can to watch old favorites and upcoming flicks. Claire loves films that look like art, the ones that so perfectly work the balance between the synchronicity of the soundtrack along with the visuals and plotline.

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