Sweat tries to give us a glimpse into the world of runways and celebrity culture. Beyond that, though, it attempts to prove that age-old adage of “celebs! they’re just like us!” Sylwia (Magdalena Kolesnik) is a hugely popular influencer whose opinion and friendship is valued and craved by nearly everyone around her. She searches for true intimacy as we follow her over the course of several days. People send her weird gifts, she’s recognized everywhere she goes, and she meets with a fan where they bond over a depressing story involving miscarriage. Somebody seems to be stalking her, peering from a shady car and always lurking. None of the specifics of Sylwia’s situation are all that important to the story. Writer/director Magnus von Horn chooses to make an unlikeable character study that you’ll forget almost as soon as you finish it for the very first time.
A booming soundtrack and the star-making lead performance by Magdalena Kolesnik is undeniable. Awkward family dinners and watching strangers jerking off—Sylwia’s journey is too random and empty for its own good. Nothing connects. It’s only in the final stretch that an attempt is made to sew it up with a neat bow. Suspense and tension is virtually nonexistent, so it will all rely on your love (or hatred) of the humble but hollow Sylwia.
Sweat so badly wants to be a strong character drama with vital messages about the age of social media. Sadly, its half-baked ideas never quite take flight. The slow burn narrative builds, then flops on its own footing. By the time the action picks up over an hour deep, it feels like too little too late. Magdalena Kolesnik is straight up fantastic as Sylwia, but even she can’t save Sweat from the mediocrity of the scripting. It’s altogether an aimless and meandering movie, with confused commentary on the modern age. Your enjoyment may rely on your ability to relate with a wealthy influencer of privilege. For this viewer, I just didn’t find Sylwia’s struggles to be anything revolutionary. I wanted to Sweat, but instead I was left cold.
Sweat comes to select theaters on Friday, June 18th.