Review: TFW NO GF (SXSW 2020)

Title: TFW NO GF
Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Alex Lee Moyers
Runtime: 1 hr 21 mins

What It Is: In the age of the internet, this documentary studies a group of young men who identify with the meme TFW NO GF (that feeling when no girlfriend), or, WOJACK, a character popular on 4chan representative of frustration, loneliness, and nihilism. What is explored in their lives as they grow up with and fall into the comfort of social media and the game of trolling in order to cope with things such as anxiety and depression, and how it has affected their lives.

What We Think: What a perfect film to double feature with Feels Good Man. This year is a winner so far in fantastic documentaries that go in-depth into meme culture, internet history, and how our humanity is involved. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting from the get-go, but this genuinely-crafted, gorgeously and uniquely-edited patchwork of intimate vignettes achieves an incredible commentary about what it means to grow up in the golden age of the internet and what that can mean for how we make connections. It’s a reality that everyone is made aware of, but I don’t think I’ve really seen anything this in-depth, self-aware, and compassionate before, especially considering its focus is on “internet incels,” the irony machines of the digital frontier. I love it. I love that we really get a sense of who these guys are, what they have in common, and ultimately how they develop and decide to progress their lives despite their commitment to the internet characters they portray. 

Our Grade: A-, Everything is articulated perfectly. There was something said in the beginning that I really fell in love with, that the isolation of individuals coming together on the internet can result in radicalization. It’s a very true and important observation that I think everyone should realize. What’s great about this documentary is it’s not really demonizing either, taking a step back and portraying this set of controversial people and, whether they are in the wrong, right, or whatever else, takes the time to really observe their needs and desires, something that every person should relate to. An enjoyable and charming watch that is at times almost Korine-esque with a juicy, colorful score by THE Ariel Pink and John Maus, be sure to catch this insightful group of profiles.

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Chai Simone Written by: