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Did movies and TV get Gen Z wrong?

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Bodies Bodies Bodies attempts a precarious balance between empathy and mockery, leaning more often towards the latter in widely generalized observations of a hip generation where buzzwords like “gaslighting”, “triggering” and “unhinged” are reeled off with laughter . The film alludes to Gen Z interactions but fails to unpack the full extent of a hyperconnected climate. At the start, there’s a burst of festive champagne, followed by Alice’s (Rachel Sennott) exclamation, “That was so crazy! I can’t believe I didn’t film that.” Alice may be closest to a stereotypical Gen Z archetype that has emerged on screen so far – an oblivious, titled, self-absorbed podcaster – but there’s not much to it. deepen this state of mind.

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In another new film capturing Gen Z’s relationship with social media, Quinn Shephard’s 2022 black comedy Not Okay takes the subject of performative activism to new heights as young woman Danni (Zoey Deutch) hungry for the influencer lifestyle, finds herself wrapped in a lie about being a survivor of a terrorist attack. As Bousfiha says: “[Gen Z] movies tend to be highly stylized, with eye-catching and memorable lines tailor-made to go viral. “Afterwards, they age like milk, and Not Okay is a great example of that. In the scenes of Danni coming to terms with the fact that there are people behind trending hashtags, the film is neither realistic enough to be a portrait of Generation Z nor sharp enough to be a satire. Culture writer Iana Murray shares Bousfiha’s sentiment that Not Okay manages to be “nearly outdated in a time when clichés and authenticity are what’s most important.” important” in, and “relatable” stars like Emma Chamberlain are the It Girls of the moment. But if [Not Okay] had been released, say, a year or two ago, maybe it would have felt more true to life.”

A common theme running through these movies is the decentralization of Hollywood’s white male hero, another cinematic recalibration of Gen Z; women of color take on important lead roles and take on more of the stories. Hollywood’s investment in Gen Z is creating space for today’s diverse youth in a world that doesn’t seem ready to welcome them. “A glimpse of their racially and ethnically diverse distributions tells us as much… [they] work as the perfect match with their dark and satirical take on contemporary thinking about sexuality, celebrity and violence,” says Dr Christopher Holliday, Lecturer in Liberal Arts and Visual Cultures Education at King’s College London. However, he adds: “The desire of some marginalized identities to ‘make visible’ is an imperative that can mistakenly equate visibility with progress, which in turn raises questions about an individual’s burden of representing the collective. and, therefore, who can – and should – hold the power to speak on behalf of a particular identity or social group.”

As Dr. Holliday mentions, the voices that craft these stories are also a point of contention; the age gap between the creators and their Gen Z characters means there is an immediate lived disparity. Not being part of this generation himself, Sam Levinson created the closest thing to a Gen Z-defining project: Euphoria. The teen drama’s melodramatic treatment of high school kids follows 17-year-old Rue (Zendaya) navigating love and addiction, and embodies the Gen Z aesthetic, which Tham says is “the prevalent visual cues of the neon, bright colors, dance floors and dark nights”. The show’s highly stylized, Instagram-worthy look – steeped in dark depths below the surface – plays on the instability and chaotic narrative nature of Gen Z media.