James is a young, handsome narcissist and socialite, living the dream, going to glamorous parties and swanning around with the New York elite. He has ‘made it’, or so it would seem to his thousands of followers on Instagram. When he is dumped out of the blue by his wealthy older boyfriend, he comes crashing back down to earth, and the landing is painful. In the cold harsh light of day, it dawns on him that without the extravagant lifestyle that his Internet presence would imply, he doesn’t have much left. This short film documents the demise of a man who seemingly has it all, in 12 brilliant minutes.
Emrhys Cooper, who also directed the film, plays James, oozing hedonism and vanity perfectly for the role. His best friend is Andy, played by Anthony Johnston, a kind hearted man who also struggles with excess in his fast paced lifestyle. He is the only true friend that James has, amongst his hundreds of thousands of virtual ones.
But of course, this goes completely unnoticed by James, who is so wrapped up in himself that he fails to really see what goes on around him. A particularly amusing and eye-opening scene shows Andy opening up to James about his addiction problems, but the confession goes completely over his friends’ head. He is still scouring the Internet, trying desperately to find the next party to go to. These things are all familiar to us in the modern world, and this is like a cautionary tale of when things go too far.
The film, starting with the abrupt termination of a relationship, is a perfect descent into despair, and the subsequent 12 minutes have more emotion packed in than can sometimes be hoped from a full-length feature film. It is a barefaced portrayal of the way we can make our lives look so glamorous and fulfilled through this new phenomenon of social media, when really, behind closed doors, we are lonely, afraid, aimless, insecure, and desperate for the approval of people we don’t even know. In this day and age, a film like this hits right where it hurts, as we are all guilty of embellishing our day-to-day lives, and getting a little kick out of getting approval from our online friends.
Filmed in New York, Trophy Boy looks good, the writing is great, and it gets straight to the heart of the corruption that is rife in this modern world, especially the ways in which we deceive ourselves and others into thinking that we’re someone that we’re not. I would highly recommend it!
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