Netflix’s ‘Airplane Mode‘ is extremely relatable for millennials or anyone who surfs social media. Telling the tale of a social media influencer, who finds her true self after going through the curveballs life throws at her, the movie brings up some problems that each of us goes through every day.
Who among us does not seek online validation, be it through the photos we post, or the memes we share? Ana, the protagonist of ‘Airplane Mode’ is exactly like us, except that she is miles ahead in this game. Her posts get thousands of likes in a minute, and her fame as an influencer even gets her a job with an apparel company, True Fashion.
However, as a postmodern teen adrift in the fickle world of social media, Ana asks some of the questions that pop in our minds. She questions whether anyone truly knows her, or even wants to know her. The young girl is also forced to question the transience of her own fame, and lastly, who she is as an individual.
A critique on social media immersion and addiction, steeped in existential questions, makes ‘Airplane Mode’ seem almost too real in today’s world. Naturally, you might be wondering whether it is based on a true story. We have got you covered in that regard.
Is ‘Airplane Mode’ Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Airplane Mode’ is not based on a true story. However, it is so relatable, it could be real. Ana is an influencer on Photogram, which is an obvious play on Instagram. Some of her mannerisms reflect what we have come to expect from influencers as well – be it clicking selfies in bed, claiming to have just woken up, after putting on makeup, or clicking pictures of her breakfast and her car accidents.
Ana is always on her phone, posting photos or going live. We realize that being an influencer is quite a hustle, and requires people to be on their toes. ‘Airplane Mode’ also captures the dark side of social media addiction, and influencer culture quite succinctly. We see how replaceable influencers are, since people are gunning for their spots, and anyone with a smartphone and a working internet connection can become an influencer.
We also see how companies are willing to exploit influencers, and generally anyone, for their own profits. The movie heads to a deeper area of truth here, as it shows how the age of post-truth works, and how opinions can be shaped by manufacturing fake narratives. Gil’s romance with Ana’s best friend is completely concocted to drive up the sales of True Fashion. Thus, ‘Airplane Mode’ might not be based on a true story, but is frighteningly real.
However, in some places, ‘Airplane Mode’ does embrace the movie-like fairytale qualities, like the effortless way in which Ana, the city girl, falls in love with John, the straightforward country boy. The conclusion is also rather dramatic when Ana teams up with her family and lover to take down True Fashion for stealing her ideas. That being said, ‘Airplane Mode’ walks the line between reality and make-believe, with issues like social media immersion, engagement, and addiction, being very prevalent today.
Who is Larissa Manoela?
‘Airplane Mode’ might not be based on a true story, but it feels real enough. This is partly because the character of Ana is so relatable. Perhaps not when we see her as an influencer with an excellent fan following, but her moments of privacy, when her insecurities and doubts shine through, can be felt by us.
Interestingly, this accurate portrayal of Ana has been possible because Larissa Manoela, who plays the character, is a real-life influencer. She has perfected the art of Instagram story highlights and beach photos. You can take a look at her feed here. With 28.1 million followers, Larissa is quite a sensation on Instagram, ahead of contemporaries like Amanda Cerny. To put things more into perspective, Hollywood star Margot Robbie has a fan following of 18 million on Instagram.
Larissa has also figured out how to monetize Instagram well enough to have purchased a mansion in Orlando, Florida. This puts quite a new spin when Ana mentions in the movie that life does not pay her bills. You can check out Larissa promoting ‘Airplane Mode’ on her profile, below.
Larissa was discovered at the age of 4 by a scout, in a supermarket. At the age of 6, she started her career in a GNT show, ‘Mothern’. Her big break came in the Brazilian remake of the Mexican telenovela, ‘Corações Feridos’. Thereon, she has appeared in another telenovela, ‘Carrossel’, and movies like ‘Fala Sério, Mãe!’ and ‘Meus 15 Anos’.
Apart from acting, Larissa is also good at singing. In fact, she has a studio album, ‘Up! Tour’. The actress, singer, and digital influencer is bound to get even more attention now, after appearing in ‘Airplane Mode’, thanks to Netflix’s global outreach.
Thus, while the story of Ana might be a warning about the pitfalls of being an influencer, it seems that Larissa has ridden the wave quite well, and she is definitely not about to turn on the airplane mode on her phone now, to get the digital detox that Ana so badly needed!
Read More: Airplane Mode Ending, Explained