SXSW 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! How do you humanize those that society at large has cast aside? The people on the fringes who feel ostracized? But, what happens when those people internalize that loneliness and lash out at others? Are they still worthy of being looked upon with sympathy? Alex Lee Moyer seeks answers to those questions in her directorial debut, TFW No GF.
Taking its name from the infamous meme, the documentary follows a handful of people who have aligned themselves, in one way or another, behind the banner of incel, or involuntary celibate. Their parents were abusive, addicts, neglectful, or all of the above. This stunted their sense of self and made it difficult for them to connect and make friends in school. This sank them into a lonely depression spiral.
“…follows a handful of people who have aligned themselves, in one way or another, behind the banner of incel…”
That sense of solitary, the feeling that no one truly understands them would not subside until they discover 4Chan and other forums. Here, they would write about how they were fed up with feeling invisible, especially to members of the opposite sex. So, this online community became the only place these often angry, trolling men could turn for someone to truly listen to them. Moyer hears first-hand from Kantbot, Kyle, Charels, and two more whose names escape me, and follows them for a bit over a year.
Eagle-eyed readers may note how I did not differentiate between any of the five people at the heart of TFW No GF. That is because, despite Moyer’s best efforts, they are all interchangeable. Their stories are so similar that if they are not visible on the screen, I am not entirely sure I can pinpoint who was talking. This presents the film with one of its main issues – it comes across as remarkably shallow.
"…How do you humanize those that society at large has cast aside?"