The Social Dilemma (2020)

Title: The Social Dilemma

Year: 2020

Genre: Documentary | Drama |

Runtime: 94 min

Director: Jeff Orlowski

Starring: Skyler Gisondo, Kara Hayward, Vincent Kartheiser


Explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.


The Internet has changed our lives in more ways than we could have predicted. Even more so, Social media companies have abrupted our interaction with each other and making us all co-dependent on a cellphone that does more than just calls and texts. It’s a daily routine for all to check notifications, emails, messages, and DMs. An unprecedented reality that no could have foreseen, perhaps. It has shaped our life and our future and by doing that, they’re also collecting personal data on our accounts. It’s a media frenzy to be close to it, and the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma make an inherent approach to the problem. The big companies gather info that they sell to a third party.

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It presents a fair critic for these companies. It does. With so many ex-workers on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube it gives them somewhat accreditation in the interview-bits. The tricky part of this film is that tries more than it succeeds with. In one part of the documentary, you have the serious and controlling part with how serious screen time and dependable of a smartphone is, and then you have a fictitious story about a teenager that struggles to keep his hands from the phone.

The documentary features this as a mediocre drama that unveils this guy with a control rum of triplets, managing the main characters social media in a similar fashion to how it was portrayed in Inside Out (2015). Maybe it works in Pixar children-movie but dedicates at a documentary on the social problem, is just annoying. If they skipped the control-room scenes, it would be far easier to take this film seriously. Understandable, the dramatization is to show an indication on the issue. As it is right now, it’s kind of overwhelming and distracting. It feels forced by the actor’s performances.

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Ironically, the experts are alerting on their own creation in how they speak and how they pronounce these social media companies a doomsday device. They share some interesting insight into the prospect of how much we are consuming their apps. Some of the interviewees share more and goes in-depth than others.  The camera crew has also an uncalled presence which is a trick to make it feel more alive. It delivers its premise with dignity somehow. You can hear their voices in the background and at one moment the camera shifts to them. In this way, it doesn’t feel restricted to the traditional format that you can see. It’s more open and more honest. All the experts have a sense of humour which lighten the mood of the problem and a dynamic that affects you as the audience.

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With all this in mind, this documentary is also honest, explicit, and disturbing in a truthful – well, as truthful it can be. It also has hypocrisy as its critics the tech business for this dilemma when the media industry is just the same. And with Netflix as a major streaming-service criticizing other companies while doing the same thing, isn’t that the top of double-morality?


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