As If It's True (2023)

As If It's True (2023)

A tragicomic character study of Gen Z’s aspirational goal

6.4

Movie

Philippines
Tagalog
Drama, Romance
2023
JOHN ROGERS
Adrianna So, Ashley Ortega, Jan Silverio
100 min

TLDR

Khalil Ramos as James is great here, but I’d argue that despite how cruel she can be, Ashley Ortega as Gemma Stone is right – it’s just that we don’t have enough moments to actually get to empathize with her.

What it's about

Fading social media influencer Gemma Stone stages the perfect romance with up-and-coming musician James, with mutual intent to exploit each other for fame.

The take

With their personal life offered for consumption, carefully curated for viewers and sponsors, the social media influencer has become a fascinating character to study, especially with the job becoming Gen Z’s top career aspiration. As If It’s True examines this character through Gemma Stone, using the fake relationship trope to examine the lengths to which she would cling to her clout. John Roger’s debut feature blurs the line between real and the fake, not just for Gemma and James but also for the viewers, and it brings up much to say about how this aspiration can ruin people. However, the lines are blurred too much, as the ideas don’t mesh cohesively as it could. As If It’s True is an interesting character study, but the film hasn’t allowed itself to see the human side of the people highly incentivized to be fake for views.

What stands out

The tragedy of As If It’s True is the way Gemma and James are nothing more than pretty faces, with stories rewritten to be palatable enough for their viewers, to the point that their dreams, goals, and passions are overridden– this is only what the market allows. Sadly, what’s striking is that the film doesn’t allow these characters to be more than that. The moments where they truly connect are hidden from us through hidden texts, sped-up montages, and cuts from where James and Gemma tell their stories.

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