The new Netflix Original film #REALITYHIGH is a teen-movie for the Instagram generation that uses social media throughout the film.
The film is directed by Fernando Lebrija and features the young cast of Nesta Cooper, Keith Powers, Alicia Sanz and Jake Borelli.
#REALITYHIGH joins the ever-growing list of Netflix Original films released in 2017 and has been received well by audiences, especially its target audience of teenagers.
The film tells the story of Dani Barnes (Nesta Cooper), a high-school senior who is a typical nerd, hides in the shadows and dresses in drab frumpy clothes. Juxtaposing of course is the beautiful and fierce Alexa Medina (Alicia Sanz), representing the next generation of Instagram-famous mean girls. When Dani falls for the most popular boy in school, Cameron Drake (who also happens to be Alexa’s ex-boyfriend, played by Keith Powers), she is introduced into the wild world of the famous, rich and popular. Alexa seems to forgive her and transforms her into one of her loyal followers – though not is all as it seems.
The film resembles the famous Mean Girls (2004) in its storyline and characters, with mean girl Alexa becoming the modern-day Regina George. The film transcribes the digital age of social media into the typical plot well, and creates a modern-era film that shows how social media has become a part of the high-school experience, touching on, and exploring the issue of cyberbullying throughout the film.
One of the most interesting parts of the film was that although it harboured the typical traits of a teen-movie, it also told the story of mean girl Alexa, and her lonely life as an Instagram star, attempting to show that fame and social media popularity have little to no relevance in the real world. The film shows Alexa herself to be lonely and jealous of Dani, who has a supportive family and friends, showing its young audiences that money, Instagram popularity, and social media likes don’t necessarily provide happiness.
The film tackles a lot of issues that have become more prominent as the rise of social media has taken over today’s teens, and it shows a new-age of mean girls that is all too real. In terms of entertainment value however, the film doesn’t hold many surprises and sticks to a familiar storyline that ticks all the boxes for the genre, but doesn’t necessarily break any boundaries.
#REALITYHIGH was released on Australian Netflix on the 8 September 2017, watch it here.