Sweat: Film Review


Courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye

Given how prolific social media is, it’s no surprise that there have been a bunch of films made about its effects, social media stars and more, and Sweat is another great addition to that sub-genre.

The movie depicts three days in the life of fitness influencer Sylwia Zajac (Magdalena Kolesnik), a social media celebrity who has thousands of followers and fans but feels alone and is craving true intimacy.

Magnus van Horn‘s film, which was due to have its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year, felt so realistic and well observed that at one point towards the start I wondered if I was watching a documentary. It observes Kolesnik as if it were a documentary, offering us great insight into what the day-to-day private life of an Instagram celebrity might be like. On the surface, Sylwia seems to be happy and have the perfect life and body but the job requires a lot – always having to post videos, engage with fans, promote brands, eat healthy and work out.

I was fully immersed in the film from the get-go, when we watch Sylwia host a workout class in a shopping centre, and I loved watching her go about her influencer duties, no matter how mundane. However, it started to lose my attention in the middle when she visits her family and it takes an unexpected dark turn in the third act that I wasn’t too keen on. I lost my way with the film and I liked it less from there because I thought it lost sight of the intimacy focus.

Influencers are judged quite heavily and scoffed at but Sweat takes an empathetic approach and tries to lift the lid on what that life is really like. You can’t help but feel sorry for Sylwia, having all those fans online but no friends in real life.

It helps that Kolesnik is terrific in the lead role. I genuinely believed that she was a fitness influencer – she looks in peak physical shape – and the camera is always closing in on her face, showing us how she’s really feeling when she puts the phone down and her smile disappears.

Although I had some misgivings about the third act, there’s no denying that Sweat is a compelling movie which gives us an eye-opening look at influencer life.

In cinemas now

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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