MAINSTREAM (2021) – How to be an Internet star!


Rating: ⭐ 1/2

The only reason that attracted me to Mainstream were the two names associated with this – Andrew Garfield and Gia Coppola. Now Andrew Garfield has been known to pick movies which are not mainstream, and these have often proved to be rewarding viewing experiences like Hacksaw Ridge, Silence, Breathe, and Under the Silver Lake. This one looked like another one of his risqué projects and I was anticipating something different from him again. The name Gia Coppola would not ring any bells although the surname Coppola has strong affiliation to great cinema. She is a granddaughter of the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, niece to ace director in her own rights, Sofia Coppola. Is Gia able to exhibit similar strengths in her style in Mainstream? One can hope can’t one?

Sadly as you can probably guess from the dismal rating given, both Andrew and Gia did not live up to expectations. Admittedly, the role of Link by Andrew Garfield is not an easy one. Link is basically a street bum who is befriended by two other down and out young adults (Maya Hawke and Nat Wolff) who took it upon themselves to become the next YouTube sensation by creating one viral video after another. While Andrew’s character is anything but one dimensional, he is annoying. With the persuasion of his friends he becomes an overnight internet star thanks to increasingly outrageous tactics demonstrated in his YouTube videos. The idea is that Link and friends are sort of like anti-social media wanted to show the world the emptiness and meaningless existence of people obsessed with viewing and worshipping internet superstars as they come and go. Of course their success soon begins to turn them into exactly the sort of people whom they were mocking. the premise is quite interesting but the way the film makers portray Link’s rise to stardom felt rushed and unconvincing. Being annoying, vulgar and abusive does not, in my opinion, equates to things that the internet public would crave. And yet, here we are supposed to believe in the ease in which the minds of the masses may be.

Gia Coppola may have the impressive association with great directors, but unfortunately her work here does not inspire. She is lucky to have a star like Andrew Garfield play the lead as otherwise, the whole premise may be quite unbearable to watch under the work of a lesser actor. Most of the time Andrew is made to make a fool of himself while spurting out a lot of nonsense talk. He almost manages to make the amateurish script sound better than it has any right to be.

Mainstream wants to be a social statement of the internet age that we live and abide by today, but its direction and script lets it down, making it look inconsequential and feeling pretentious as well.

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