‘Parents vs Influencers’ kicks off the European Union Film Festival

This comedy drama explores the relationship between an influencer-hating father and his daughter who aspires to become an influencer. Hijinks ensue when he inadvertently becomes an influencer himself.


From Oct 12 to Nov 5, the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) will be held in 5 GSC cinemas throughout Malaysia. The festival is making its return for its 24th year in Malaysia. While most of the movies will be sold at RM 10 per ticket, 11 selected movies will be available for free viewing. One of these movies, Italy’s Parents vs Influencers, was screened to the press, allowing BASKL to watch it.

Parents vs Influencers is a comedy drama about a middle-aged professor who butts heads with his teenage daughter, who he sees as being addicted to social media. The professor, Paolo (played by Fabio Volo) laments that he is no longer as close to his daughter, Simone, (played by Ginevra Francesconi), as she barely even talks to him anymore, preferring to spend all her time on her phone. Simone, who has dreams of becoming an influencer, feels that her father is overbearing and unaccepting of the changing times.

During one of their heated arguments, Simone records a video of her father angrily disparaging influencers as lazy and stupid and posts it online, where it gets the outraged attention of one of Italy’s top influencers, Ele-O-Nora (played by Giulia De Lellis). Paolo goes viral, unwittingly becoming a rallying figurehead in a nascent movement of “parents vs influencers”, as many like-minded parents share his frustration with their children’s overuse of social media. After Paolo and Simone reconcile, Simone suggests turning his newfound fame into a career as an influencer, becoming a so-called “anti-influencer” himself.

As Paolo embarks upon this new journey, things begin to change for him and Simone. They become richer as money from sponsors rolls in, they become closer to Ele-O-Nora, and the people around them start treating them differently. Because of this, Paolo begins to change also, getting increasingly absorbed in his influencer lifestyle.

This movie ambitiously tries to tackle themes of advancing technology and the widening gap between the older and current generations. Unfortunately, it does not feel completely authentic in its presentation of these themes and the realities of social media. Of course, some creative liberties and exaggerations must be allowed for entertainment purposes, but the story feels like it was written by somebody around Paolo’s age. A lot of the conflict stems from Simone and the other teenagers being completely addicted to their phones in ways that bring to mind Facebook spoof comic strips shared by Baby Boomers.

It also seems that the change in Paolo’s personality and behaviour was emphasised a lot less than should have been. The plot is rather predictable, and when the story finally gets around to admonishing him, it does so for only half the reasons, and ignores some of Paolo’s hypocrisy. The romantic drama surrounding one of Simone’s friends also feels a little bit like an older person’s understanding of the “newfangled diverse sexualities of kids these days”.

Nevertheless, the movie remains an entertaining enough comedy, and the side characters provide plenty of laughs. The diverse supporting cast all feel distinct and memorable, and in some ways are even more likeable than our main cast. To its credit, the show does highlight how much hard work goes into sustaining a successful career as an influencer, and how fickle online audiences can be.

Despite this reviewer’s gripes with certain elements of the film, it was still a relatively enjoyable experience. While this may not be an absolute home run, this writer is still looking forward to the other movies in the upcoming film festival.

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