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Genie (2023) | Film Review


Genie (2023) | Film Review

Genie (2023) is an honest, hard-hitting film that describes the story of a black woman drawn to a mysterious social media app due to her struggles with self-love and fitting in. It’s a brilliant display of some of the most pressing issues we face currently, through the exploration of various themes such as race, social media, toxic beauty standards and peer pressure.


Directed by Paul Chiedozie & Naeem Mahmood, and led by a star-studded cast, the film itself is a vibrant but gritty dive into what it means to exist as a woman, specifically a woman of colour, in today’s digital world.


The film itself can be quite a heavy watch for those unprepared; in the first two minutes, we see the main character’s hair being poked at (an experience many WOC will be all too familiar with) which then intertwines with clips of her being beaten up by a group of white women. It’s a fantastically artistic choice, as it reflects how painful these experiences can feel for many.


The film then abruptly flicks to a montage of colourful yet eerie testimonial clips of women talking about their experiences with this so-called ‘miracle’ app. The juxtaposition here is central to the theme of the film and the way that on the surface, social media is described as an empowering and inspirational tool, yet for many women, it is the exact opposite.


As the main character seeks to receive validation from others, including a man that she’s

interested in, she finds herself falling deeper and deeper into the world of toxic standards and social media. Yet she is not the only one. Other women, like her best friend, who actively encourages her to join the app, also deal with the pressures that society puts on them in a negative way. In a way, it’s almost like these people are brainwashing other people to believe the same lies about themselves.


The film then takes a terrifying turn in the last few minutes, suddenly mirroring that of a horror movie. The bright white lights that accompanied much of the earlier film transform into these flickering red lights that give off a nightmarish look. It’s clear by this point that this is the reality of the app for the main character. It’s a terrifyingly hellish place to be, one that conflicts with all the previous positive testimonials women gave of the app, one of which was ironically “Thank God for Genie!”.


It’s an ominous and depressing way to view the digital world, but it’s a fascinating representation of the mental toll that social media takes on many of us. As a society, we love to talk about the glitz and glamour of social media, but Genie takes a deep dive into the psychological horror that awaits us on these apps. It takes several current issues, like racism, technology and peer pressure, and combines them into a deeply interesting and relatable story that many of us can see the meaning behind, perhaps even in our own lives. Article by Zaynah Khan

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