3 Movies That Got Gen Z’s Portrayal Right

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Gen Z Diary: Movies That Accurately Representing Us

UMN Consulting, Jakarta – As the post-millennial generation, we (Gen Z) are no strangers to binge-watching our favorite series and movies. It feels weird and incomplete if we do not manage to finish our favorite series and movies in a single take. Even a survey says that binge-witching defines our activity in the digital realm. According to Gen Z’s Digital Media Consumption and Activities report from UMN Consulting, 78.5% of Gen Z spend their time in the digital space watching online videos, either short-video, movies, or series.

There are lots of series or movies that we follow. We love movies or shows that can entertain us. However, we also love content that can resonate with our cultural and emotional lives. The big question is, are there many contents that can fulfill that quality? 

Representing our life is not an easy matter. Despite Hollywood having made countless coming-of-age stories throughout the years, portraying Gen Z on the silver screen is a whole different story. Known as the digital native, we are showered with lots of information that makes us think about various issues such as human rights, sex, drugs, relationship, independence, and many more.

These are some movies that got Gen Z’s portrayal right:


Booksmart Movie (2018)

1. Booksmart (Movies, 2019)

Created by actress turned director Olivia Wilde, Booksmart is all about smashing stereotypes. Different from previous generations, such as Millennials or Boomers, we (Gen Z) try to break expectations and stereotypes to ensure we can define our identity. 

The movie tells the adventure of Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), two high-achievers and Ivy college-bound who are labeled by many as boring and nerds. They spend most of their time studying instead of having a good time throughout their high school years. 

Determined not to fall short of their peers on their graduation day, they rebrand themselves as Party Girls. Using the internet and social media, they track every party they can attend in a single night. A wild ride ensues. 

The movie tries to tell us that smart girls can be fun too. Furthermore, attractive girls can also be smart without being labeled a nerd. Pew Research in 2018 shows that 59% of Gen Z teens pursue further study in college, compared with the 53% of Millennials teens in 2002. 


Eight Grade (2018)

2. Eighth Grade (2018)

Directed by stand-up comedian Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade shows the relationship between us (Gen Z) and social media. It tells the story of Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher), who tries to seek popularity among her peers through social media. 

At first, the shy girl believes that she can boost her popularity and confidence among her classmates through her regular self-help vlogs. However, after noticing that only standoffish videos can help her to gain stardom quickly, Kayla decides to conform to standards set by influencers she follows. 

Eighth Grade may lack the correct representation of the relationship between us and role models like influencers. However, it does a pretty good job of portraying the ups and downs of Gen Z’s life on social media. Its main message is that we can evaluate the role of social media in our lives and use it to create positive changes instead of being dictated by it. 

According to the latest Gen Z digital media consumption report from UMN Consulting, Social Media is part of Gen Z’s life. Around 44.9% of us have had social media accounts for 5-10 years. Furthermore, We Are Social Reports in January 2020 shows the average number of social media used by Gen Z per month is 8.1. 


The Hate U Give (2018), a movie about Gen Z and Racism Issues

3. The Hate U Give (2018) 

Directed by George Tillman Jr, based on the 2017 novel of the same name, The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr Carter. Carter witnessed the fatal shooting of her best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer during their trip home. The police thought Khalil held a firearm during the shooting while he only held a hairbrush. 

The event caused a significant trauma at Carter while at the same time further reinforcing the racial problem at the police department. Facing pressure from all sides of the community, Carter must decide what she needs to do regarding Khalil’s death. 

The film shows racial problems and police brutality from many perspectives, but the main highlight is how Gen Z deal with oppression and social injustice. It’s no secret that Gen Z like us have shown a willingness to fight for a better future for everyone. In fact, according to UMN Consulting, Gen Z’s behavioral motivation is mainly determined by Universalism and Benevolence values which emphasize the protection of nature and the well-being of people.




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While movies can give you some ideas and hints about understanding us (Gen Z), they will not give you detailed insights. For more comprehensive data about Gen Z, you can check UMN Consulting’s whitepaper report, freemium content, or our collaboration with Kompas.com. Stick around for more content about Gen Z from us.

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