Like Me Review
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Love Is Dead
by: Jerry Smith
Take a young woman trying to figure out who she is and where she fits into the world and add a healthy dose of today's need to be seen and you've got one hell of a cocktail in the form of LIKE ME. A film that refuses to play by any set rules laid down before it, Robert Mockler's look at an individual struggling to find a connection with people is not only an artsy and experimental piece of cinema, but one that never for a ingle second pretends to be anything other what it is.
Kiya (Addison Timlin, who was perfect in last year's LITTLE SISTER) does things in hopes of finding someone who will not only pay attention to her but also to help fulfill a need to be seen, be heard and feel like she's a part of something. Beginning the film by fake robbing a gas station and causing the attendant (THE BATTERY's Jeremy Gardner) to urinate on himself, Kiya uploads the video of her act onto the internet, causing a huge uproar and setting another online personality, Burt, loose to attack her by calling her every name in the book and labelling Kiya as a fake and a loser.
Desperate to show that she's not any of those things, the young woman does various things to prove Bert wrong, from buying a homeless man a very large meal to an act that leads most of the film, kidnapping Marshall (Larry Fessenden), a man who acts on an advance from the film's sometimes protagonist/sometimes antagonist. Expecting to get a young girl into bed, Marshall walks right into Kiya's web and is bound and taken, an act that leads to a surprising friendship of sorts between the two.
What the film does so well to establish itself as something remarkably different and unique, is telling an interesting story in a very abstract kind of way. Fast forwards, rewinds, multiple cut on top of each other, it plays like an art installation more than it does in a typical approach to filmmaking. Mockler's directing is top notch, the filmmaker really shows how much of a visionairy he is with this one and the strong performances from Timlin, Fessenden and THE BOY NEXT DOOR's Ian Nelson as Bert really helps the film leave quite the impression. With every attempt at being significant and worth being noticed that Kiya tries to accomplish, her detractor Bert makes her feel that much more insignificant, leading the film into some pretty intense territories and showing something of a series of steps all leading to an inevintable tragic series of events that causes us as viewers to ask ourselves, "What is the cost of being seen and approved?".
It's quite an interesting and provocative look at our culture that depends on how many likes and retweets we all get and filtering that culture through the very unique eyes of director Mockler is a breath of fresh air, something I seriously doubt we'll see again anytime soon. There aren't many films similar to LIKE ME and that adds to its appeal, it's a film that stands so very confident and lifts its unique sensability high in the air. One to watch out for, that's for certain.