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Review: Jawline

Still image from Jawline

This review is provided by Natasha Havrilenko from our Open Call for Film Critics & Writers!
Find Natasha Havrilenko on LinkedIn.

REVIEW: Jawline
dir. Liza Mandelup | United States | 99 min
*Director in attendance!!


The aptly named Jawline exposes the vanity and illusion that envelopes social media superstars, specifically Austyn Tester, a small-town teen trying to break into the ever-evolving, competitive industry of social media stardom.

Director Liza Mandelup juxtaposes the life of Tester, the son of an abusive, addict father who shares a fungus-lined bedroom in Kingsport Tennessee with his brother, alongside the upscale life of male, L.A.-based social media stars where massages, pedicures, and exhausting their credit cards on Rodeo Drive is all in a day’s work.

Not surprisingly, social media stardom isn’t all heart-eye emojis; however, Mandelup did open my eyes to the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of social media fame—their fans.

Gone are the days of acquiring fans with music, moves, or talent of any sort.  Jawline delves into why the armies of girls drive for hours, wait for even more hours, and pay hundreds for a selfie, hug, and in some cases, the opportunity to wrap up the social media star with toilet paper (yes, toilet paper).   Screams and selfies aside, these superstars are more than eye candy to their fans, they provide an escape from the trauma of the fans’ day-to-day.  Interviews help paint the picture of teenagers who find solace in tethering themselves to their smartphone screens– one even noted she stopped self-harming because of the positive influence these male internet superstars have.

Does Tester successfully swap Kingsport for L.A.? Does he get his moment of toilet paper glory? Will he get more followers than he can shake a selfie stick at? I suggest you watch to find out and, like Kingsport moths to a streetlight, you’ll be hooked immediately with this documentary’s eyebrow-raising glimpse into this social media cesspool.


Interested in seeing this film for yourself? Reserve your tickets to Jawline here!
Jawline opens this year’s festival with director Liza Mandelup in attendance!