For anyone that has not seen Allie&I , visit TheInternetDoesntLoveYou and see it for yourself. Fair warning: There are spoilers up ahead.
Alternative rapper, KYLE, or SuperduperKYLE as his earliest fans like to call him, recently released his very first short-film called Allie&I, setting the indietronica rap universe ablaze.
Followers were confused when the rapper, singer and actor took to his tiktok, streaming from a pool atop the hills to give a motivational speech about success and haters, unaware that it was simply footage for Allie&I, Kyle’s first directorial debut.
Allie, played by Kota Eberhardt, is sort of… mesmerizing in an ethereal goddess-esque manner. Her long box braids, coy smile, and inconsistent style are nothing short of enamoring. She’s enigmatic, mysterious, mystifying. She keeps Kyle–and viewers– on their toes. We never quite know how to understand her. She seems beautiful and reassures Kyle of his value, yet she’s also unpredictable, unattainable and a bit meddlesome. –What’s going on with this Allie girl?
Her deep voice echoes across the screen as the camera follows her playful motions and laughter. The story drops us very quickly into the throws of infatuation with a girl who both researched our main character (unnamed) and relates to him in every way… Weird.
From the sensual notes, to Kyle’s narration to Khalil (played by Charlie “Mr. Man” Anderson), we begin falling into Allie’s world and that special “it” quality she has.
Kyle’s fantasy of her is muddled in his subconscious, as we watch her whispers turn to the voice of an affirmation youtuber. She echoes throughout the film, “There is no one like you in the universe”, and reassures Kyle– as well as viewers– that he (the viewer) is a bright star in the universe.
“She’s perfect”, Kyle says to Khalil.
Allie develops a groupie relationship with another artist that she can’t seem to stop watching, The SquangGod (a combination of Squad and Gang)–don’t forget the God part. SquangGod, played by Freddie D. Ramsey, Jr. seems to have it all figured out.
“All he does is talk about his cars and his clothes and how his chakras are all aligned”, says Kyle in response to Allie’s obvious teasing.
While he struggles with his jealousy of SquangGod, Kyle tries to keep up. He watches SquangGod’s social media, performs regular motivational speeches for his fans about haters and ironically– talks to his fans about “not comparing yourself to others”, all while becoming physically ill. The hypocrisy is blatant.
It is unclear whether or not his friend, Khalil, who repeatedly accuses him of “sounding crazy” is actually jealous of his success or genuinely concerned for his health. The unknown intention behind Khalil’s frequent criticisms make the protagonist’s plight into illness and exhaustion all the more isolating.
It is clear, however, that our titular character has amassed success and Allie is along for the ride, jokingly emphasizing that she’s “watching”.
Allie’s love doesn’t seem quite grounded or real. It seems superficial and aloof to Kyle’s descent into depression and physical distress. Allie makes Kyle feel heard, relatable, special, like he’s truly found someone to connect to…but only sometimes.
She isn’t all that consistent–sometimes fully withdrawing her interest in him without warning as her attention is quite easily whisked away by what others are doing on social media.
She operates without boundaries, also feeding the egos of others in the industry, stirring jealousy, and goading competition.
While Kyle physically breaks down, he continually gives in to Allie, who demands more visibility–even hanging up an artist poster of Kyle that he gawks at while coughing, feverish, in a high-like stupor (visually showing us the juxtaposition of who Allie wants him to be, who fans believe he is, and who he actually is in real life).
He makes reels, throws parties, makes his music, motivates his fans, and drinks his morning shake until he can’t stand to be around Allie anymore. While we, the viewers, await the satisfying conclusion that Allie needs to go, she fakes a mental breakdown only to belt out a hearty laugh when confronted by Kyle.
Viewers could’ve guessed this from the beginning but, Allie doesn’t love Kyle. She never actually did. Allie isn’t actually Allie.
The ending, a bit too on the nose, but something viewers can easily surmise, plainly spells out who she really is.
Allie is the internet… and an allegory of the most important commodity we have in this world–our attention.
She is social media. She is visibility. She is the addiction to public visibility. Like the trailers suggests, she is the epitome of how we worship people like idols, chasing notoriety, or clinging to those who have it, keeping up with the unpredictable nature of the world, even above our own health, individual growth and self-acceptance, and even above our need to be truly understood for our humanness (illness included).
In the end, Allie very vocally expresses that she isn’t even real.
The antagonist is not her, but the choices we make in the age of media and visibility that make us sick. Allie pushes Kyle to continue with his facade even when he is coughing up blood as doing otherwise is “not an option”. The true antagonist of the story is Kyle’s endless decision to pursue what Allie represents.
Like she worships The SquangGod, like Kyle worships her, we too, are continually infatuated, frustrated, and made ill through the never-ending cycle of social media consumption, which, like Allie, has an appetite for attention that can never be quelled, as it also epitomizes success in a way that isn’t real or tangible.
We know this as Kyle does, but we continue to play the game that Allie demands, though she honestly couldn’t care less.
Everyday, we fall for Allie. We compete for Allie’s attention and Allie capitalizes off of our habits, slowly draining us. Everyday, Allie tells us how to stay relevant, she makes us angry, she exhausts us, she tests us, plays with our emotions, she brings out our hypocrisy, she makes us hide our struggles, separates who we really are from the image of ourselves that we perpetuate for others to consume, and she always demands more of our appearance even when we’re sick and tired of her.
She amplifies our feelings of greatness and adulation in the echo chamber of the internet just as much as she inspires feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, while also making us feel seen and loved in ways that are fleeting.
…and at the end of the day, she doesn’t care because she doesn’t really love us.
She’s the internet…and by her own admission, she only means to bring out of us what is “already there”.
If you’re confused, go to The Internet Doesn’t Love You and re-watch the film.(Pro-tip, you can actually play with Allie’s eyes using your mouse–or smartphone– before you click to view the film.)
For Kyle’s first directorial debut, fans were ecstatic. The film can also be viewed on Youtube, Vimeo, in addition to the website directly. So far, it has amassed 50K views on youtube and resonated heavily with viewers.
Although we all can relate to the message of Allie&I, it is likely that anyone will do as Kyle’s protagonist did and delete their social media. Even real-life Kyle didn’t.
Nevertheless, the message is quite cathartic and the film itself has proven to be a successful feat that shows promise for SuperduperKyle’s career as a director in the film industry.