Tribeca Film Festival Review: A Better You is a charming, self-reflective look on the social-media age

*Due to the current global crisis the planned 2020 Tribeca Film Festival has been postponed. The AU Review has been in contact with the respective representatives for available films in order to give them the coverage they intended.

A commentary on the so-called perfection of social media, Eamonn Murphy‘s quirky short A Better You is a charming, self-reflective look at the persona we wish to exude as opposed to the one we should.

Set within a neoclassical-styled world that merges the art deco aesthetics of days gone by with the technological advancements of the future (think Baz Luhrmann‘s The Great Gatsby with TV’s and cloning), A Better You centres around the seemingly brittle Douglas (Sean T. O’Meallaigh) and his desire to summon the courage to ask a co-worker (Hannah Mamalis) out on a date.

We gather that Douglas is a far more human, compassionate person than the majority of those that surround him at his place of business, and when he manages to finally ask his co-worker on a date, we are let in on the film’s narrative hook that society has opted to embrace technology that allows people to literally put their best selves forward.

The generational struggle of self versus social media persona is brought to life in an imaginative manner where “the better you” is a literal manifestation.  Douglas, assuming he as himself isn’t enough to woo his lady friend, purchases an upgraded version of himself; Douglas 2.0, if you will.

Blurring the lines between fact and fiction is something that seems to becoming increasingly more prominent as of late when exposing the myth of social media, and A Better You certainly isn’t telling us something we aren’t already privy to (your photos are edited? What?!?!).  But presenting it in such an inventive way suggests the message of always being yourself is one that still proves effective – no matter how often we’ve heard it.

In merging the unlikely styles of forward-thinking technology with the production design of yesteryear, Murphy finds the perfect representation of the social media age, driving home the notion that whatever appears too good to be true more than likely is, and presenting yourself as is will always remain the most popular option.


Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.

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