The American Meme

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The American Meme
Directed byBert Marcus
Produced byBert Marcus, Cassandra Thornton
Written byBert Marcus
StarringParis Hilton, Josh Ostrovsky, Kirill Bichutsky, Brittany Furlan, Hailey Baldwin, DJ Khaled, Emily Ratajkowski
Edited byTchavdar Georgiev, Monique Zavistovski
Bert Marcus Productions
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
December 7, 2018

The American Meme is a 2018 documentary film starring Paris Hilton, Josh Ostrovsky, Kirill Bichutsky, Brittany Furlan, Hailey Baldwin, DJ Khaled, Emily Ratajkowski and Dane Cook. It is written and directed by Bert Marcus and produced by Bert Marcus and Cassandra Thornton,[1] and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, 2018.[2]

The film follows four social media personalities as they work to create commercial brands out of their online presence. The film premiered to critical acclaim [3] and was purchased at the Tribeca Film Festival as a Netflix Original Documentary. The sale was one of the most high-profile documentary acquisitions of this year.[4]

The film was released on December 7, 2018 on Netflix.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a user approval rating of 99%, with an average of 4.9/5, and 93% among critic reviews.

Time Out New York named it the number one movie to see at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, writing that the documentary "finds its way to an unexpected sadness and maybe something deeper and cautionary."[6]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety, hailed it as "highly entertaining and an essential snapshot of the narcotic voyeuristic parasitic American fishbowl," following its premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. He went on to say, "Bert Marcus, the director of 'The American Meme,' works in a kaleidoscopic style that channels the glitzy, fragmented screen-shot spirit of his subjects. At the same time, he gets us close to them, so that we can see the kind of people they are: shrewdly likable and kind of ordinary. Their lives consist of feeding a beast that pumps their fame and drains their souls."[7] Internet film critic, S. James Wegg writes, "[Bert] Marcus set himself the task of profiling some of the world’s most 'followed' social media superstars, letting their work and their own voices make his points about the business of making a living doing outrageous things and sharing those with their seemingly insatiable admirers and online 'family.'"[8]

Paris Hilton, one the film's central characters, has been praised for showing her vulnerability and giving audiences a glimpse into the dark side of fame. Decider reports, "In a series of quiet, reflective interviews, Hilton explains why she trusts her fans more than her friends and dissects the risqué David LaChappelle photoshoot that transformed her into a household name."[9] Furthermore, USA Today shares "5 ways Netflix's 'The American Meme' will change the way you think about Paris Hilton,"[10] including the closeness she has with her fans and her genuine self-awareness about the reality of internet stardom and notoriety.

In a review of the film in The New Yorker, Naomi Fry writes, "But what is fascinating, and valuable, about 'The American Meme' is its ability to reveal the desperation, loneliness, and sheer Sisyphean tedium of ceaselessly chasing what will most likely end up being an ever-diminishing share of the online-attention economy."[11] Bust reports, "'The American Meme' unpacks and reveals the ecosystem of social media celebrity with incredible thoughtfulness....this movie is no hand-wringing thinkpiece from a legacy publication about how the Young People and their Insta-whatevers are ruining society, written with an insufferably lofty tone by an outsider. What Marcus does, radically enough, is treat the social media personalities he interviews for this film as real people, rather than subjects in a study or avatars of moral degradation."[12]

The film has been hailed by The Irish Times as "a fascinating look into the curious appeal and lives of social media superstars and reality celebrities."[13]


  1. ^ "The American Meme". 1 April 2018 – via
  2. ^ "The American Meme - 2018 Tribeca Film Festival". Tribeca.
  3. ^ Gleiberman, Owen; Gleiberman, Owen (2 May 2018). "Film Review: 'The American Meme'".
  4. ^ "Netflix Picks Up Doc 'The American Meme' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ Reed, Ryan; Reed, Ryan (2018-12-07). "'The American Meme': DJ Khaled, Paris Hilton Ponder Social Media Fame in New Trailer". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  6. ^ "The 10 best movies at Tribeca Film Festival 2018". Time Out New York. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  7. ^ Gleiberman, Owen; Gleiberman, Owen (2018-05-02). "Film Review: 'The American Meme'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  8. ^ "JWR Articles: Film/DVD - The American Meme (Director/Writer: Bert Marcus) - December 4, 2018". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  9. ^ "Paris Hilton Tears Up About Sex Tape: "It Was Like Being Raped. It Felt Like I've Lost Part of My Soul"". Decider. 2018-12-07. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  10. ^ "5 ways Netflix's 'The American Meme' will change the way you think about Paris Hilton". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  11. ^ Fry, Naomi (December 7, 2018). ""The American Meme," a New Netflix Documentary, Records the Angst of Social-Media Influencers". The New Yorker.
  12. ^ ""The American Meme" Is Most Disturbing Movie Of The Year". Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  13. ^ "Netflix: the 10 best new films and shows in December". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2018-11-30.