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‘#Like’ review: Reductive revenge thriller is anti-victim

Sad for all the wrong reasons.

#Like is an odd movie that turns the female revenge thriller onto its head. Rosie (Sarah Rich) is mourning her sister Amelia who died one year earlier. When she finds the online predator who was responsible for Amelia’s death, she goes to the authorities. After they inform her they are unable to do anything, Rosie realizes she has to take matters into her own hands.

Writer-director Sarah Pirozek tries her best to deliver a positive message here. Rosie is a take-charge person who does not need any help to accomplish her goals and proceeds with her revenge completely on her own. She even gives The Man (Mark Menchaca) what can best be described as a “feminism” quiz in order to see how enlightened he is.

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Then why does the movie come off so strongly as anti-victim?

For starters, #Like paints the possible predator in a sympathetic light. It is one thing to build a mystery. Tension and suspense can only help a noir tinged thriller. Pedophilia and child predators are the exception. This is not a story about trying to find the offender. Since that has already been revealed, it becomes a case of did he or didn’t he?

'#Like' review: Reductive revenge thriller is anti-victim

And this is where the movie traverses a slippery slope. At this point, the story is asking the audience to accept one of two things. The audience can either pity the child molester or take glee in the abuse of an innocent person. (The possibility that The Man is guilty also exists, but casting doubt takes away from any sense of satisfaction or retribution that may be felt.)  #Like takes an inelegant third option that is unsatisfying and oblivious to what survivors and their family members have gone through.

Some will make the argument one of the points of #Like is that anyone can be an aggressor. It may be the kind stranger met online or it could be the trusted family friend or teacher. If this is the case, it is after school levels of writing since this is something people are taught their entire lives. If it is a lesson learned by Rosie, it comes a full year after the death of her sister and the horrible events she goes through in the movie. 

'#Like' review: Reductive revenge thriller is anti-victim

There also is the counterpoint the film may be going for realism. The story actually does this well. The reliance of Rosie and her friends on technology and the importance in their lives is punctuated throughout #Like. Even better, are some of the more universal attitudes displayed. They are sometimes obnoxious kids that do things they should not.

When it comes to Rosie’s decision making regarding her revenge, #Like loses its way. She is understandably vindictive and consumed by grief for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, the movie does not depict her this way. She is seen as a dime store feminist who acts on impulses that leads to horrible decisions. In other words, she is a crazy woman literally ranting about abuse. And if the movie is trying to make some sort of statement from that, it is a doing a huge disservice to any victim of sexual assault.

#Like will be available on TVOD, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu, FandangoNow, and Microsoft Store January 26

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