Swiped: An Editor's Perspective
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Tinder is shown in a fairly good light, despite the occasional bashing for being fairly shallow to the surface. Using the app has practically become as common as taking Advil for a headache and Swiped makes no point at all trying to say anything other than “this could be bad.” Dating apps are not going away anytime soon and when the creators of these various platforms tell their stories, you’re glad. In fact, you’re relieved.
There’s a point in the film where the focus is on the people who helped put these dating apps on the map, delving into the process of each and every possible algorithm, idea, and outcome their team put together. One app creator talks about the seedy side of selling an app; going campus to campus, hopping from farmhouse to sorority scene to get boys and girls together over their iPhones. It’s this honesty and explanation of social connection that makes the moment so great, but the film is very good at crediting and exploring the people that helped make modern internet dating. The movie runs at just about 90 minutes, so if you’re looking for time to kill and have an interest in how social dating apps came to be so popular this is worth a watch.
The pace flows really well for a documentary, with great camerawork and proper lighting during the various different interview segments. Swiped opens with a regular college party, freshman and sophomores drinking together while a camera crew asks them questions about their dating lives. The guys say how strange the girls are and the girls say the same for the guys, but at one point two groups begin to argue about who has more power nowadays in modern relationships. It’s a brief but intense moment between two young people having a conversation that I wish there was more of. The film has a lot of great people included in it, some famous and some just common users of dating apps.
When onscreen, the filmmakers make sure to show their true colors and, in particular, get them to tell their best and worst online dating stories. For me, the story about the girl who waited until five in the morning total care of a drunken first date was cringe-inducing kismet at it’s finest (or at least most watchable). The girl who tells the story does so while looking in the mirror and applying makeup, but you don’t need a lot of visuals when someone can tell a story so real you feel like you were present for it.
As much as I liked the film, Swiped suffers from a lack of saying what it needs to say on a substantial level. Having a stance on something is detrimental to a documentary, and though sometimes you don’t even need it depending on the strength of your film, the movie lacks hitting any points it tries to make by the end. Swiped is a fairly comfy documentary that I could even see blossoming into a series later down the line, but there needs to be more purpose or at least a developing thesis for later segments to really work. Overall, if you have HBOGO or a dire interest into the world of internet dating, you should check out this documentary. It’s a good first documentary as well if you’re trying to get a friend into the genre.