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average rating is 3 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Nov 30, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Olivia D'Lima
Written by:
Olivia D'Lima
Olivia D'Lima, Nalân Burgess, Conor Tahir

Humans have a tendency to look back at the past with hazy eyes that remember it as a far better time than it actually was. This is because it is a safe place, no matter the hardships, one which has passed and in which we can revel in the memories of a supposedly glorious yesterday. Each generation tends to have their own nostalgic lens through which they view the age in which they were adolescents, and this in turn permeates the cultural zeitgeist, bringing ideas thought to be lost to the bowels of time back to the forefront of popular culture. ‘Naughties’, is, as the title suggest, a nostalgic view of the 2000s, though in truth, it falls flat in depicting the period, let down by an overall lack of focus in its writing.


In recent years, jettisoned by the seismic impact of ‘Stranger Things’, nostalgic romanticism has largely focused on the 1980s, with films such as ‘It’, ‘Everybody Wants Some’, and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, following suit and taking us back in time. To a lesser, but nonetheless growing extent, both the 90s and the 00s have enjoyed similar revivals in popular culture, as those who grew up and matured in those decades have come to an age in which they can significantly alter what is popular in wider society. The revival of flip phones (albeit at a much higher level of technology), pleated skirts and cargo pants point to the comeback of 2000s trends, and ‘Naughties’, a web series - itself an extremely 2000s concept - reflects that.


‘Naughties’ follow teenage girl Olivia (Olivia D’Lima) across six mini episodes that depict her fairly exciting life growing up in the 2000s. Nothing, extraordinary happens during these six episodes, but for a school age teenager, these are definitely some of the cherry picked memorable best moments. Throughout these six episodes, Olivia goes through something of a journey of self discovery around herself and her body, with episode one beginning with her engaged in a web chat with a man on the Internet, who wants to webcam and see her naked. There’s also insecurities over the size of her breasts, questions over the legitimacy of female masturbation, and mixed feelings over what she’s attracted too. All this with plenty of shouting at her mother, normally over her barging into her room, as parents are bound to do.


Whilst such a narrative through line across the six episodes is good and helps the viewer associate to a greater extent with Olivia as a character, it only has an impact on three episodes of the narrative - the first, last, and an episode in the middle - and thus the other episodes feel like filler, which you should not have in a six episode web series in which episodes are three minutes, and are irrelevant towards Olivia’s overall arc. Nevertheless, Olivia D’Lima’s directing shows moments of creativity that outstrip the ability of her writing and makes a scene in which she is pretending to drink and smoke, just about tolerable enough to get through.


‘Naughties’ is a glimpse into the past through rose-tinted glasses, a nostalgia burst which shows promise in some areas, but is otherwise let down by both its format, which was left in the era in which it is set for a reason, and by inconsistent writing.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Web Series
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