Mainstream Review

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Mainstream: An Innovative Take on the Unhealthy Relationship with Social Networks

In the modern era, the topic of our relationship with social networks and the rise of influencers has become a highly debated theme. One film, Mainstream, tackles this subject in an interesting and innovative way, shedding light on the at times unhealthy dynamics that exist. Let’s explore our review of this thought-provoking film, exploring its captivating narrative and compelling characters that leave a lasting impact on the audience.

The Journey of Frankie and Link

Mainstream introduces us to Frankie, a young and unfulfilled barmaid hailing from Los Angeles. Still grappling with the recent loss of her father, she spends much of her time capturing videos on her phone. It is during a chance encounter at a shopping center that she meets Link, an enigmatic and antisocial boy who astounds her with an impromptu and improbable “show.” Entranced by his performance, Frankie records him and eagerly uploads the video to YouTube, which quickly goes viral.

Convinced of Link’s potential to become a popular influencer, Frankie decides to collaborate with him and her colleague Jake to create a series of clips. Dubbing him “No-One-Special,” Frankie propels Link to web stardom. However, as the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Frankie soon becomes acquainted with a different side of Link, a darker yet equally captivating persona that brings forth challenges and consequences she never anticipated.

A Masterful Creation by Gia Coppola

Mainstream, directed by Gia Coppola, proves to be an intriguing and well-balanced film that comes close to achieving greatness. Coppola approaches the seemingly banal theme of social networks from a fresh perspective, showcasing audacious yet self-aware direction. The film manages to find its limits while maintaining a compelling narrative. Moreover, Coppola skillfully assembles a cast of actors who bring depth to their characters, with Andrew Garfield delivering a performance like never seen before.

While the film does experience a slight slowdown towards the end, leading to a somewhat rushed and less impactful conclusion than expected, it still manages to address pertinent themes with aplomb. The triumphant portrayal of Andrew Garfield as Link serves as a testament to the film’s overall success. Even with this minor flaw, Mainstream stands as evidence that the talent within the Coppola family has not waned but continues to flourish across generations.

The World of Social Networks and Influencers

Mainstream’s undeniable spotlight falls on the realm of social networks and the stars that emerge from it, commonly known as influencers. These influencers have become symbolic figures within a society where communication grows increasingly complex. They effortlessly navigate the blurred lines between our real identities and the personas we adopt online. As a society, we constantly seek new role models capable of providing immediate, simplistic answers to our questions.

The influence of these social media figures extends to the masses, gradually diminishing the connection to the “real world.” Understanding and empathy wane as we rely on surface-level knowledge, devoid of deep analysis and critical thinking. Within this context, Frankie, a young and potentially talented director, represents introspection and intuition. Her work reflects a world of study and meaningful content, pulsating with the desire for recognition and love.

Contrasting Frankie’s approach is Link, the larger-than-life and uncontrollable character who embodies a society built on appearance and aggression. Jake, Frankie’s colleague, serves as the voice of reason, his disgust for the superficiality of it all highlighting a yearning for authenticity. Despite his love for Frankie, Jake is powerless to intervene in the inevitable outcome of her entanglement with Link’s mesmerizing yet hollow allure.

A Visual Journey

Visually, Mainstream presents a narrative that evolves alongside its protagonist’s growth. The film embraces various cinematic techniques, beginning with intertitles reminiscent of silent cinema, which capture the dreamy and romantic initial encounter between Frankie and Link. As the story progresses, vibrant colors and visual references to the 60s and 70s come to the forefront, reflecting periods characterized by uninhibited and excessive societal norms.

The Stellar Cast

Maya Hawke delivers a sweet and well-balanced performance as Frankie, effectively portraying her character’s journey. The resemblance she bears to her mother, Uma Thurman, becomes apparent through strategically placed scenes, such as the “white shirt” dance sequence with Link. However, it is Andrew Garfield who steals the show with his portrayal of Link. Excessive and unrestrained, Garfield presents a character both heinous and irresistible, highlighting the devastating effects of narcissism and vulgarity.

Link forces everyone to confront a harsh reality – that we have all become empty vessels, desperate to fill ourselves up with anything, regardless of the cost or substance. Amidst the constant bombardment of superficial content, shocking actions, and well-crafted sentences, we struggle to find genuine fulfillment and understanding.


In conclusion, Mainstream stands as a stylistically and narratively successful film. Gia Coppola’s direction, coupled with captivating performances, offers a profound exploration of our relationship with social networks and the emergence of influencers. While the film may falter slightly towards its ending, it still manages to impart valuable insights and provoke thought. Mainstream is a timely reminder of the importance of authenticity, critical analysis, and the need to find genuine connections amidst the noise of the virtual world.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is Mainstream based on a true story?

No, Mainstream is a fictional film. However, it skillfully explores the themes and dynamics prevalent in our society’s relationship with social networks and influencers.

2. How can I watch Mainstream?

Mainstream premiered at the 77th Venice Film Festival and will be released by IFC Films in US cinemas and on demand on May 7, 2021. Check your local theaters or streaming platforms for availability.

3. What genres does Mainstream fall into?

Mainstream can be classified as a drama with elements of comedy and satire. It delves into complex themes while offering moments of levity and social commentary.

4. Does Mainstream provide a critique of social media?

Yes, Mainstream presents a critical examination of our society’s obsession with social media and the impact it has on our lives. It raises important questions about the authenticity, influence, and repercussions of online persona.

5. Who is the director of Mainstream?

Mainstream is directed by Gia Coppola, known for her distinct cinematic style and her ability to explore pertinent themes with depth and nuance.