Under The Influencer is writer-director Alex Haughey’s sophomore feature-length film. Given the premise and title, logically, viewers would think this a comedy. So imagine the surprise when this turned out to be a searing look at the content creator lifestyle, accepting aging, and chasing the trends to stay relevant. There are a few humorous moments, but Haughey is more interested in observing how such a career bleeds into a creator’s personal life and what it means when they become inextricably linked.
Tori (Taylor Joree Scorse) is a famous YouTuber with her channel Tori Time. But as she enters her mid-20s, things look iffy for her kid-centric channel. Ratings are declining. Fans wonder why she hasn’t grown up yet. So Tori, her assistant Sara (Chandler Young), and manager Christopher (Zach Paul Brown) have meeting after meeting to figure out the future of Tori’s channel. She wants to pivot toward her true artistic passion: singing. Is that the right move, or will Tori be stuck making children’s videos until she’s washed up and forgotten?
“…as she enters her mid-20s, things look iffy for her kid-centric channel.”
Under The Influencer is perfect from beginning to end. How the filmmaker intercuts the (mostly) finished YouTube videos into the 93-minute runtime adds crucial context. When Tori gets mad that her ex is using reconciliation as mere fodder for his channel, audiences feel the sting as much as the character does. Tori is likable from the jump, and seeing how hard she takes negative comments makes everyone watching sad.
Scorse gives a career-defining performance. She is sweet, clever, mad, frustrating, funny, and broken all at once. She is captivating and threads between every emotion with grace and ease. Brown is also quite good, and Young steals a few later scenes when they are working on Tori’s song. Spencer Vaughn Kelly shows up in the last third as Sayer. He is brilliant and rugged, and his chemistry with Scorse is off the charts.
Under The Influencer is perfect in every way. The writing and directing capture the hardships of being a YouTuber/influencer. The cast stuns, with Scorse leading the way with a wide range and the talent to pull it off. Don’t miss this.