Surely, there’s a joke about endorphins here, but Swedish filmmaker Magnus von Horn’s riveting, discomfiting thriller “Sweat” is wholly uninterested in quick jokes and silly digs. Instead, the 2020 Cannes selection digs deeply into the glittery, shiny, and seemingly shallow world of celebrity fitness stars and influencer culture to offer up an insightful look at the world today, beyond the sweat and spandex.
The film premiered at last year’s virtual Cannes Film Festival, where IndieWire’s Eric Kohn praised it as a “taut and emotional character study” and “the most intense look at a social media-obsessed loner since ‘Eighth Grade.'” And if that nod to Bo Burnham’s aching drama in any way prepares you for the honesty and intensity of von Horn’s film, consider yourself lucky, because “Sweat” has plenty of twists and turns to throw its audience’s way.
Per the film’s official synopsis, “Beloved fitness influencer Sylwia (Magdalena Koleśnik, in a star-making role) seemingly has it made: hundreds of thousands of social media followers, endorsement deals, photo spreads in magazines. But as she starts to share more and more online, the rising pressure from concerned sponsors and increasingly obsessive fans forces her to confront her deepest insecurities and the exhaustive demands of her lifestyle.”
In his review, Kohn wrote, “Swedish director Magnus von Horn’s Polish-language feature finds its character wrestling with the nature of her popularity, until she’s forced to confront the disconnect between her public and personal existence in vivid detail. A dazzling figure who thrives on sharing her beauty with the world, Sylwia has boxed herself into a superficial universe of her own design.”
MUBI will release the film in select theaters on Friday, June 18, with a streaming release to follow on the online MUBI platform on Friday, July 23. Check out the first trailer and newest poster for “Sweat,” available exclusively on IndieWire, below.
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