Film Review: Sweat

Sylwia at work

As far as I’m concerned, there’s little more pernicious in today’s society as the rise of the cult of the influencer. What began as Youtubers or Instagram accounts gaining large followings has evolved into a cottage industry of money-making self-promotion. Why anyone would trust these people is beyond me, let alone worship them. However, whilst it’s easy for someone a little older to be cynical, there’s clearly something to it. Sweat paints a rounded picture of life in-front of a phone.

Sylwia (Magdalena Kolesnik) is a fitness guru who takes her job very seriously. Indeed, she lives the lifestyle 24/7, documenting her daily movements for her legion of Instagram fans. With great power comes great responsibility, so she won’t just promote any-old product. It must fit-in with her brand. However, she’s starting to have reservations about the lifestyle. Nothing is sacred and she feels under increasing pressure to please the masses, whilst being entirely alone. When a stalker appears outside her apartment, things come to a head.

Sweat is an empathetic and thoughtful drama about loneliness and the perils and pitfalls of living your life online. It works so well due to an engaging and fearless performance from Kolesnik. The camera lingers on her face at every opportunity, a gamut of emotions expressed through a grimace. It would have been easy for Magnus von Horn to follow the trend of lambasting these figures, but in Sweat he takes a balanced approach. Highlighting the downsides and illustrating the prisons these internet celebrities can build for themselves.

Sweat is released in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema on 25 June.

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