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InRealLife – Review

September 22, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


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A documentary about how the Internet has affected teenagers today and their social lives sounds like something everyone should be concerned about. Too bad InRealLife gives absolutely no insight on the topic. Rather, you’re stuck watching a prude director, Beeban Kidron, try to discover what all the hype is about. You know what they say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…

How do you begin a discussion about the Internet and its terrible doings? Cut to a porno of a hot blond with big tits. Then ask a teenage boy what kind of porn he looks at and how he compares it to real girls. I feel like he was almost paid to say he aspires all (real) girls to be like the girls in porn. There is, of course, no in-depth conversation of how teenagers today are less likely to have fulfilling relationships in real life due to their porn collection. I’ve already lost interest in the sheer ignorance of our narrator and the most ridiculous questions she asks her “volunteering teenagers” about their possible “addiction” to the Internet.

One kid even had to Google the definition of “addiction” to see if it really had such an incredible effect on him. Of course if the Internet ceased to exist, he wouldn’t mind picking up a book. He wouldn’t, like, jump off a bridge because he couldn’t Tweet.

It gets worse. Kidron throws in a selection of snippets from technology and social science experts to discuss the possible negative effects of the Internet, with very little effect. You can see she’s digging in to find a clear response about the threat of the metaphoric “cloud” and big data houses, but instead you receive some gibberish about the tech industry peppered with digital buzz-words that make absolutely no sense to the general public.

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For a film about the digital age to be released in 2013, InRealLife is lacking in every aspect, from the people she interviews to the actual topics she covers. Since when does a teenage girl do absolutely anything for a Blackberry? Maybe before Carphone Warehouse offered free upgrades, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous to focus on the smallest demographic of kids misusing the Internet. You get an incredibly misguided representation of what the Internet does and is capable of doing, which ultimately discredits this documentary and its original objective to educate us about a very important technology presence in our lives.

What makes this especially cringe-worthy is the fact that possibly every new-age parent will be queuing in line to see what “The Internet” is doing to kids these days and completely agree to the still unanswered question about that big mysterious thing Kidron calls “The Cloud”. Thanks for answering that – not!

After these 90 minutes of smack talk about the Internet, all I can say is the kids are (still) all right. Problem solved.

InRealLife is out in UK cinemas.

Amanda Chen