8th October 2018 (US)
James, a sexy, youthful sought-after instagram star in high-society and self-proclaimed 'Trophy,' is dumped by his wealthy live-in benefactor. Now he must learn that the real world is not the facade he's built for himself on social media.
Emrhys Cooper, Anthony Johnston, Mariano Rubin De Celis
We’ve all got them: friends on social media platforms whose lives appear to consist of nothing but crazy parties that you only thought existed in movies, dream vacations to penthouse infinity pools and the constant upgrading and owning of the latest tech. It’s hard not to feel a little envious as you scroll through your feed seeing these images while sat at a grimy bus stop at the crack of dawn, in the pouring rain, as you head towards another 12 hour shift.
But all is never as it seems and in Emrhys Cooper’s truly excellent short Trophy Boy, he argues that social media fame comes at a severe price.
The film follows James, a narcissistic insta-star whose life is nothing without a #hashtag. Things go south quickly after his wealthy boyfriend dumps him – leaving him only with his absurdly dashing good looks and a completely blank CV. Along with his equally destructive friend Andy, James learns the hard way that you need more than rock hard abs and a few thousand followers to make it in the real world.
Trophy Boy is the film equivalent of accidentally opening the front-facing camera on your phone while lying down, revealing your double chin. It shows us the real lives of these immaculately groomed people and the extreme lengths they go to for social media attention. Not only that, Trophy Boy is a stark (and completely welcome) reminder that what we see is simply a snapshot of someone else’s existence – a second of their lives which is more often than not posed, framed and edited to paint a perception of reality that is, quite frankly, unobtainable.
Along with directing and writing the story, Cooper (who will be seen in the upcoming Nosferatu remake alongside The Shape of Water‘s Doug Jones) plays the lead role of James and is wholly believable as the self-centred social media star. It’s impossible to sympathise with James as he pushes away any help that comes his way, most of which is from his sex addict friend Andy, played by Anthony Johnston. Andy, on the other hand, is much easier to feel for as he reflects on his life choices and realises he must make drastic changes if he is to have any kind of future – a conversation with James which falls on deaf ears. Johnston is sublime as the regretful Andy and just about pips Cooper to the post as best performer of the picture.
Social media is an almost inescapable aspect of modern life. It’s undoubtedly the cause of misery for millions due to its incessant barrage of images portraying lives that, at a glance, are infinitely greater than yours. Trophy Boy will make you feel better about your own existence by peeling away the layers (or more accurately, the filters) of the apparently lavish lifestyles of Facebook fakers while also hopefully making you question what’s really important – the superficial ‘likes’ on a precisely angled profile picture or working towards improving your real-world personality so you can form meaningful relationships with people to become organically loved for who you really are.
Trophy Boy screened at Cannes Film Festival and is awaiting a UK release date. It is slated for release in the US on 8th October 2018. For more information visit: https://www.trophyboyfilm.com
A welcome light shone on the real-life of social media stars
Successfully highlights the dangers of reliance on likes
Compelling performances from Cooper and Johnston
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