Writer-director Jeff Phillips’ critique of how social media shapes lives doesn’t have the scope of David Fincher’s Social Network, but in its own way it's just as ambitious. Based on the real life cyber-bulling of Megan Meier, the film maps the fallout when a high school rumor snowballs into a Byzantine plot of revenge. Catharine (Lily Holleman), a frail, sad-eyed sophomore with few friends, vents her depression and self-hate through cutting. When she overhears a school jock sneer about the blowjob he received from Madison (Najarra Townsend), Catharine’s ex-BFF, she casually passes the news to a classmate via text. It’s an action both vengeful and meaningless until Madison’s mother (Gayla Goehl) finds out, sets up a social media profile to connect with Catharine, and sets out on a mind-fuck staggering in its cruelty. Like Social Network, @urFRENZ is about power and what it does to those who wield it, and those caught in the crossfire. But Phillips' film offers the flipside to Fincher’s hyper-male realm – it's just as much about the ways women and girls treat each other , with cellphones and laptops being tools for female cruelties both casual and Shakespearean. The film layers its punches carefully, though classroom lectures about mass media and gossip through the ages, as well as a group discussion about teen depression, can put too fine a point on the film’s themes. But the acting is fantastic, especially Gayla Goehl as Madison’s incredibly fucked up mom.
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